Tabi basa & greetings everyone! Today I’d like to share about the recent work that I have done at Serian – a wedding reception between Charlist & Lorita, a Bidayuh from Kpg Pichin and an Iban (Remun, to be exact) from Kpg Semukoi respectively.
There is a YouTube video version of the event, which you can watch here. Do consider to Subscribe to my YouTube channel.
They were in a relationship for 15 years before actually tying the knot. Their official wedding took place on 16th Aug 2022 and as per locals custom, the wedding reception can be done at a later date. This gives more flexibility in terms of their planning and also allows family members and friends to arrange their plan in order to attend their wedding.
Charlist is a Pichin lad, where his mother is from Kpg Pichin and his late father from Kpg Tebakang Dayak. For us at Serian, it is easy to know whether you are from which village because each village has their own identical dialects. Piching has their own unique “tan neh” filler words. In Bidayuh Serian, the word “iban” refers to “isan” in Iban language, which refers to the relationship between parents of married couples. Meanwhile, “tuwa” is how the couple refers to their parents in law. This is not to be confused with “tuak” (rice wine).
The funny thing is in Bidayuh Biatah / SIburan, the same “tuwa” words refers to your uncle / aunty that is younger than your parents. This is just some of the examples of how complex Bidayuh language is.
For those who didn’t know, Iban is the biggest ethnic group at Sarawak, followed by Bidayuh. Both are Dayaks, therefore both celebrates Gawai and there are various similarities. Mixed-marriage between Iban and Bidayuh is also common.
Being the biggest ethnic group in Sarawak, Iban is bound to have dialect variation due to geographical distance as Iban people progresses through time. Lorita is from Iban Remun’s tribe. Iban Remun language is different from standard Iban language. Their dialect is different from other Iban speakers from other parts of Sarawak, including Betong, Simanggang (Sri Aman), Sarikei, Rajang etc. Remun Ibans reside around Serian, Simunjan and Balai Ringin.
If you look up samples of Iban Remun in Google, the two most popular example are as follows:
“Entai ku ngilau” (Iban Remun) – “Nadai ku meda” (Standard Iban) – “I cannot see”
“Entauk ku badak” (Iban Remun) – “Enda ku nemu” (Standard Iban) – “I don’t know”
These unique dialect is something that every Iban Remun needs to protect, lest it will be lost with time due to various reasons, which is something that Serian Iban Remun Association (SIRA) is fighting to prevent from happening.
CHARLIST & LORITA WEDDING RECEPTION
Back to Charlist, the wedding reception is always a moment that is being awaited for, especially when it comes to a friend that have known for so long yet haven’t settled down with his / her life’s partner. For Charlist & Lorita, it is a special night to celebrate their love along with their family and friends.
The event started at 6.30pm at Roxy Hotel, Serian. Both bride & groom walked in with accompaniment from dancers in full costume representing their respective ethnics. After that, there was a bit of religious segment of the night, where Pastor Lawrance gave a sharing from the Word of God to both Charlist & Lorita.
After blessing was done, cake-cutting ceremony follows. That’s where Charlist & Lorita cut the cake together, as a symbolic of undertaking the task in life together, and share the fruit of their labours with both family. As correctly mentioned by Mr Jantai, Lorita’s father, the union is not only between Lorita & Charlist but the union between both families. He himself has a new son, i.e. Charlist.
Once the cake-cutting ceremony is done, a new symbolic ceremony took place.
ADAT PERNIKAHAN BUNGAI PINANG
The custom called “Adat Pernikahan Bungai Pinang” is an Iban Remun’s traditional customs and I haven’t witnessed it being done elsewhere apart from Remun areas. It is a unique custom where representatives from each family goes to the front to the ceremony master.
But before that, a tajau is prepared along with the other traditional items, including a Pua Kumbu (Iban’s ceremonial textile) & sarong on top of brass tray (talam loyang) or sometimes silver or gold. Inside that tajau are a bunch of “ai bisa” (alcoholic beverages), where home-made tuak also can be used though in this case their opt for commercialised drinks as long as it meets the purpose / objective of the tradition.
One person from groom side will take first, followed by a rep from bride’s side.
Whichever bottles they have obtained, it will be shared among the representatives. Once done, the bottle from the bride’s side will be opened and shared. Since this is a mixed wedding, Bidayuh cheers “Tara Tara Tara” was used.
After the “Bungai Pinang” ceremony, Mr Jantai officiated the singing session with “Bekikis Bulu Betis”, a legendary song sung by Andrewson Ngalai, a renowned Sarawakian singer from Iban group. The group at the back dance enthusiastically to the song, with chanting of “Indi, Duweh, Taruh” breaking the ice between the guests.
After “Bekikis Bulu Betis”, it was the time for first dance, slow dance between Charlist & Lorita, though other couples are most welcomed to join. The song for this slow dance is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, and sung by yours truly, Tukang Rantek.
After that, it was free & easy. There were a lot of dances happening around the hall, cheers Tara Tara Tara heard from the dancing guests. Charlist & Lorita finds it difficult to have a rest because there will be excited guests from family and friends group who will come to congratulate them, givings gifts to them and most importantly, group photo with the bride & groom.
The event ends officially at 11pm, but after-party at Kpg Semukoi picked up where the official dinner left off. DJ’ed by Charlists cousins, Benen & Atai & his uncle, Mr Sangkitang, the afterparty goes on until 4am in the morning.
One thing that I like about this kind of event is that I am able to catch up with long, lost friends such as Dolin, Po-et, etc, those whom I don’t get to see on day-to-day basis due to life’s path. It is good to see childhood friends such as Boyong & Achik, Buntek, Jantul, Teten etc have a good family of their own, a path which Charlist & Lorita soon will follow suit.
Looking at them reminds me to the good old days, where life’s biggest challenge was UPSR, an exam which our late headmaster, Guru Besar Patrick Dabot from Kpg Tebakang Dayak wants us to excel in.
1. Claudius is a freelance photographer based in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia.
2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh Serian language.