Tabi basa, silamat brupagi, sramat isan-isan, slamat pagi & greetings everyone! Today I’d like to write about one of the stories from my childhood, which is about a bird callled “sikokok” (in Serian) or “Sikukuok” (in Bau). In English, it is called red-legged crake (Rallina fasciata).
It is a medium-large bird with size of 24cm in length. Its head, neck and breast red-brown, paler on throat. Its upper parts are grey-brown. Underparts and underwings are barred black and white. Its bill is green and its legs are red. But its most defining character is its red eye. 🔴A fiery-red eye, that tells us a lot about its true nature. It is like a ghost in disguise for Bidayuhs.👻
Bidayuh folklore revolves around our relationship with nature, with most of the spirits are manifested in physical world in apparition of animals. In this case, sikokok represents spirits that borders between life and death. It is also related to Bidayuh’s “pontianak”, despite its innocent look of a small bird.
The sound of sikokok represents a lot of thing. It could mean an impending death at a village. In a normal day, usually sikokok is silent. But when someone is about to die, especially back in the olden days where we were still practicing folk religion, sikokok’s sound from a distance at night means someone is about to pass away. We will gather at the person’s house at his or her final hour to give comfort to the family, as well as to be ready for anything, be it spiritual, or physical threat.
When I was a still a small boy, before I started my primary school, I like to sleep with my grandparents, a habit that seems to be followed by my nephew and niece. There is something so comforting with them around me as I fell asleep, especially when it comes to supernatural security. Usually I will wake up my late grandfather or grandma to accompany me for extra protection. But there was one time, I really want to go to the toilet. Suddenly, there was a sikokok’s sound from a distance.
Sikokok’s sound means an approaching omen, or something that might disturb us. There is a weird thing about its warning sound. If sikokok’s sound is getting louder, then that “thing” is moving further away. But if sikokok’s sound is getting further, that “thing” is getting nearer.
As for my case, at first, it’s getting louder, but then it became further away. It means, something is near. Then I saw a black figure seems to be walking around our house. There is no way that could have been anyone. It’s around 3am in the morning. So, I cancelled my wish to go to the toilet and stayed motionless on my bed to avoid getting unwanted attention and ended up wetting my bed. But that’s way better than being disturbed by that “thing”.
The next morning, I told my grandparents what happened, and coincidentally there was someone passed away on that night too, around 3am. So the “thing” that I saw is someone’s spirit roaming around for one last time before “it” left.
At the jungle, if we see someone, we are not allowed to called them by name. Instead, we will shout “wooo”. If they are human, they will reply by shouting “wooo”.
For many Bidayuhs, no matter where they are, “sikokok” plays a key role in our native story-telling as it is closely related to the afterlife and supernatural. It is sad that its story is not well-documented, and many of those who knew no longer alive.
Tabi basa ndug bala kende dangan silamat brupagi. Andu ti ku ira nulis pasal cirita de odog pidaan ndug aku wang ku lagi icek sani neh pasal manuk de odog taba ami sikokok de Kpg Pichin, Serian. Ganan ne ahi, Sikek, Sikekek, Sikukuk ato Sikukuok kuan Bi-Bau, pak kita bisi niju ndug manuk de indi ti.
Kai lagi manuk ti tantu bahas, Baak ne dangan koko’ ne nak bidaya mah kaler neh. Adeg dangan katap ne bihis-buda. Pak de kai buleh asat, bateh ne de pli kaler bidaya mung jawa apui. Kayuh kuan inya, mung mindu.
Tanen bala Bidayuh ti ahi ne pasal pimudip kita dangan tarun, ngin ahi bala kamang de dunia iti gayen ne mung bala pinatang. Dedeg sikokok ti, adeh inya manang ne nak tong kamang de nyaga pimudip dangan pingabus. Adeh lagi inya de manang ne “pontianak” Bidayuh mene pan riama ne mung manuk de icek. Ira ne maan toroi dari ato ngirantak turi kuan inya.
Angun sikokok ti ahi rati neh. Adeh inya manang ne pidaan pingabus de binua. De andu biasa, anyap angun kayuh ti. Pak wang adeh inya ira kabes, labih lagi sani neh wang ami lagi minan adat damba, angun sikokok de masu joho wang bingarum rati neh adeh inya ira kabes. Kita bigumpul bisindi duwah ramin inya de ira kabes tinan kita pirimpu asung bala nyahe, tangini pan kita ira sidiya asung kita dedeg kayuh de ira nantek kita, baik duwah kayuh de dapat dep tebek ne ato de anyap tanggah.
Wang ku lagi icek sani neh, sibayuh ku sikulah mangon, ku babar buus dangan bala tayung dangan turang babuk ku. Anak buah ku pan kelek ne buus dangan bala tayung babuk ne ngaya aku ngin pli lelek aku buus dangan bala neh. Lama neh wang ku ira kasing, garak ku tayung ato babuk ku ngancak ne nganted aku kasing. Aku mua maru tirawe sani neh. Pak adeh indi ngarum he, wang ku ira kasing, tipiya pli adeh angun sikokok. Mera tamang neh, tanan de rap ne nyap asung ku.
Angun sikokok ti rati neh adeh kayuh de nyinduk, ato adeh kayuh ira ngaco adep. De tusa neh, wang ne makin nyohon, makin joho ceh kayuh he. Pak wang ne makin retek, makin sinduk ceh kayuh he.
Balik ndug ciritu aku, angun de melen neh makin nyohon pli makin retek, rati neh kayuh he pli makin sinduk. Tebek ku adeh riama kayuh bihis de pinjan, mung kah ne panu de sapa ramin. Wang pkl 3 brupagi, anyap ceh inya pli gindong-gindong de awah. Kai ku jaji kasing. Biar ku kaset de amak masu ku napud kayuh he.
Andu dindi neh, ku pidaan dangan tayung babuk ku. Tantu lagi bala ne pidaan adeh inya kabus de binua ami ngarum he. Jaji kayuh de tebek ku he ihang inya de mbuh kabus ti, panu sibayuh ne tagan dunia iti.
De tarun, kan kita tebek bala dingan kita de plil joho, kai dep ngaba ganan neh, pak kita “wooo” ngaba neh. Kan nyahe neeh, saut ne balik minan “wooo”. Kan ne retek, aba nyiak neh. Tandah, bin ne ngajah adep maring.
Dedeg bala Bidayuh, dapih-dapih bala kita, baik de Bau, Padawan, Siburan ato Serian, sikokok/sikukuok/sekek ti ahi tanen neh ngin ne babar ngaban agah pingabus ato de kai tanggah. Pak mua lagi masi mikir ngin bala de puan cirita ti mbuh anyap.
p.s. cirita sikokok de ngade, ira madah buruh giradak wang ne pli biangun wang bingarum, nanda inya mbuh ira kabus ato adeh kayuh nyinduk.
Picture Source: Wikipedia
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Note: Tukang Rantek means photographer in Bidayuh.