Stories by Tukang RantekDayung From Miri: Barbara & Naomi

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. Photography, just like any other knowledge branch, has to be practiced from time to time, lest your skill deteriorates. Through consistent usage of camera, we will develop our muscle memory. That means we  can free up our brain to do more creative stuff once we moved past basic skills hurdle. 

As part of my journey for self-improvement, I would allocate some time for photoshoot.

Today, I’d like to share the result of my photoshoot with Barbara & Naomi, Bidayuh girls from Miri, Sarawak. These two are also the finalist of Dayung Sangon for Miri Division Gawai Celebration, where Barbara won the second place.


In Bidayuh, “dayung” means girl / woman. “Dayung” would sound weird in Malay language-speaking community because “dayung” means “oar”, the equipment that you use to row your boat.


Being a Sarawakian, Sarawak traditional costume is my favourite photoshoot theme.

In this photoshoot, Barbara is wearing her traditional costume since she is half-Sebop. Sebop is part of the larger Orang Ulu community. On a broader sense, Orang Ulu is still part of Dayak peoples, one of the indigenous peoples residing in Borneo Island.

As for Naomi, she is wearing Bidayuh traditional costume, although it is not complete.


Behind these costumes, there are hundreds of years of fashion evolution. In the past, traditional costumes are not as intricate as what we have now. Mainly it is done to meet certain function only.

Day-to-day costume are much simpler. Back then, women do not have any brassiere. It is part of modern costume, brought here through fashion evolution that follows progress. 

It is an undeniable fact that through contact between indigenous peoples and outsiders, cultural assimilation happens. That’s where we take the best part of their culture & filter the rest. That’s how we slowly improve our culture for the better. 

Traditionally, Bidayuhs don’t have any tattoo. Iban peoples do have, and it has different meaning. There are some pattern that is reserved to the warriors and non-warriors or headhunters shouldn’t use. 

The same also goes to Kayan, where including their women have tattoo at their hands. Each has their own meaning. I am pretty sure it is documented somewhere, but let’s save that for future topic. 

Now, let’s proceed with these ladies mini interview.


Hi. I am Barbara, 20 year’s old Bidayuh-Sebop lady from Miri, Sarawak. In life, I believe in being humble and stay positive. I am interested in traditional’s potrait and landscape.

In five year’s time, I hope that I can be a teacher and becoming a good role model for my future students, no matter where I will be assigned.

I understand that there are issues regarding maintaining our traditional cultures. So, here my piece of them: Wake up youths! These are times for you, me, and everyone to maintain our costumes and cultures. Do not feel embarrassed to show or to present your own cultures. Come and join more events , competition, contest that will be organized by our community. Don’t let wealth that our ancestors had gave to us fade away day by day. Learn to love and spread our unique culture! XOXO


Hi my name is Naomi Rachel, 23 years old and I’m Iban Bidayuh. I’m from Miri, Sarawak and my kampung in Bidayuh side is at Kpg Stass, Bau (next to the famous Serikin). Currently, I am a lady with own handicraft business with variety of chanade raft. 

One of my ambition that keep on making me move forward and trust the process in what I am doing is that I want to be a successful independent woman with own successful business in the future and yes I believe I will make it one day. 



That’s all for now. Have a good week ahead & stay tuned for more! Feel free to follow my Instagram or Facebook for updates. I do have X (Twitter) too. All of it is under claudiusweson handle.

Tukang Rantek,
Emcee / Photographer / Certified NLP Practitioner

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  1. “Tabi basa” means “Greetings” in Bidayuh 
  2. “Tukang Rantek” means “photographer” in Bidayuh

error: © Claudius Weson (2017 - 2024). All rights reserved.