Nyisan Bunos & Marut Kirasek: Kpg Pichin’s Gawai Closing

Prologue

Tabi basa and greetings everyone. In this post, I’d like to share about the recent Gawai closing at Kampung Pichin, where the it filled with a special program that showcases the traditional life of Pichin.

Beginning of the Event

As usual, though the event was scheduled to start at 6pm, but due to various issues, most were unable to make it on time. Hence, time allocated makes a difference and expectation should be calibrated lest one be disappointed. 

But this is a good time to chit chat with fellow friends and family members that is present, and to take some pictures at the Awah Gawai. This would be the last time it is decorated nicely for this year’s edition of Gawai as there is no other Gawai planned for this year, at kampung level.

There might be some other “gawai”, but that is more towards personal level, including wedding reception, parties etc.  

The Wait

Upon my arrival at Awah Gawai vicinity, I noticed that the pironchong players & welcoming ladies already made their way to the compound not far from Awah Gawai. It is a good place to wait for the VIPs considering it is quite spacious, though it is at the t-junction.  

While waiting for the VIP, I took the chance to take a few nice pictures. I am going to make it black and white actually because I like it. For me, B&W photography is beautiful. I am also glad to hear that some appreciates my work, because it looks unique. In the sea of chromatic stills, black and white stands out.

There were also a few who asked me about photography tips for beginners. It is not easy but as long as you have the passion, you will persevere. Photography is fun! Combined with my other favourite activity, i.e. writing, it bears a fruit called blogging, which is what you are reading here.

The Arrival of VIP

Around 6.40pm, it is time for the arrival of YBhg Datuk Amar Michael Manyin. YB Dr Simon Sindang was scheduled to join this event, but he has an event elsewhere. At Ntangan Paddu, the first two to greet him was Mr Victor & Mr Solomon.

Then, the entourage made its way to Awah Gawai TAR Kpg Pichin with pironchong music playing in the background, a music reserved for great leaders or special personnel etc. 

At the Awah Gawai, Datuk Amar was given a warm welcome by fellow Bi-Pichins. But those who attended the event on 2nd would realise its difference in number. 

There were a lot of factors though, one of it being most people went back to their permanent residence already since quite a number of Bi-Pichins work outside, myself included. We only visit our village when there is a celebration.

No matter how far we travelled, Pichin is always home. 

Langgi Pingadap

As usual, a Bidayuh at Serian’s event is not complete without the customary Langgi Pingadap, which was done by Bi-Paddu ladies.

Just like a lot of Sarawakian indigenous people’s dance, Langgi Pingadap is inspired by graceful movement of birds in flight. Some even said that it was taught to the Bidayuhs via dream because dream is the only place where the spirits can communicate directly with the living. 

The tricky part is, only a certain person is chosen. Those person usually became Bidayuh’s priestess in the past. 

National Anthem

Mr Anthony Siong became the emcee for the event this time. Once the Langgi Pingadap concludes, it is time for Negaraku & Ibu Pertiwiku.

Dinner Prayer

Dinner is not complete without prayer. It just doesn’t feel complete. Cikgu Kennedy @ Ngongok was then invited to lead us all in prayer, to bless our dinner in potluck style. 

Dinner Time

During dinner, just like any other event-goers, I retreated back to my respective zone. There, I had a hearty dinner, enjoying the food prepared by the other zone members. 

We actually can go to the other people’s zone to taste their food, but most are happy with the food at their respective zone. 

If you haven’t notice already, most Bidayuh food revolves around rice. Everything else can be “sinongkoi” or cooked with rice. For others, it might appear like a traditional porridge, but to us, it is sinongkoi. There are differences, especially the taste.

Another one is bamboo-based cooking method. Last time we do not have stainless steel cooking wares, hence we have to rely on bamboo. Sources were abundant, hence it is used extensively. 

Speeches

Mr Michael Noot, the leader of Paddu Zone, was the first one to gave the speech. His speech was very structured lest he missed anything important. Following his speech was KK Rioi’s speech. 

After that, it was Datuk Amar’s turn, where he thank Bi-Pichin for still remembering him even though he left the seat 3 years ago after being succeeded by YB Dr Simon. 

His speech was quite interesting, where he emphasises the importance of education in this world. One of the thing that he humbly admit is that he is “buta huruf” (illiterate) when it comes to the new technology or AI. Hence, he urge the youngsters to fully grasp the opportunity to learn more. 

He shared a clip of Donald Trump wishing everyone Selamat Ari Gawai, which a lot found it to be hilarious.

He also shared a personal story in the past where people didn’t believe him when he said he can actually take money from the wall (ATM). Now, everything else is doable via smartphone alone. 

Considering how fast things move, the only way to win in this digital age is to learn faster.

Nyisan Bunos & Marut Kirasek

Bunos is the leave that was used to wrap rice. In Pichin, it is called “dawe tungkus”. A shorter form is still bunos. Nyisan means to clean. Hence, in this case “nyisan bunos” means to clean the venue where Gawai was held. 

“Marut” means to roll up, while “kirasek” means the traditional mat commonly associated with Dayaks, in this case Dayak Bidayuh.

Acara Nyisan Bunos & Marut Kirasek is led by YBhg Datuk Amar as a way to show to others that for Pichin, Gawai is officially ended. 

Handover of Flag & Token Of Appreciation

Once the Gawai is officially over, there is no reason for the current host to keep it any longer. That is why, handover of flag is done to next year’s host. This time, Mr Noot handed it over to Mr Kuwek, the leader of Bintau Zone, to which he receive it gladly and lifted it up high in the air. 

After that, Mr Noot handed over the token of appreciation to Datuk Amar, thanking him for his time to join us.

Special Performances From Each Zone

Performances by Respective Zone members, a reenactment of paddy field process, which is part of Bidayuh lifestyle in the past. For me, this a good way to educate the younger generations, and for me as well because although I was born and raised at Pichin, I was not involved with any of this processes from end-to-end.

Otherwise, I would love to document it because in the future, it is going to be a thing of the past unless there is an effort to preserve traditional Bidayuh lifestyle, and making a good money out of it.

The official narrator for this activity is Miss Scholastica / Tika based on the script given by each zone, but the zone members took the liberty to act out their part and have an interactive dialogue with fellow audiences.

Nahu by Bari Zone

Nahu’ is basically clearing the land. In the past, where heavy machineries was still not accessible, we have to rely on our limbs to do the heavy work. That includes cutting the undergrowth and those secondary forest plants. It is a labour-intensive activity hence it is usually done in a large group. 

For the sake of this reenactment, only a few is required. The was a fun element included, where they “caught” snake in the fish-trap called “iju”. 

Birabu’ by KaSiDi Zone

Once “nahu” was completed, it is time to “birabu”, which means felling of trees as what all of us can see in the reenactment. There were two prop trees used for this sketch, and got some “iseh” nest, in English, called weaver ants. 

The hilarious part was when they acted as if those “iseh” fell from the tree when they were doing “birabu”. This is as close as they can reenact.   

Nyalak by Binyok Zone

Land was cleared, trees were felled. That leaves a huge land to be planted paddy. The easiest way to clear the land is using fire, which is where “nyalak” came to play.

Binyok folks led by Mr Suet or his nickname, Babuk Iseh (as called by us in the past) reenacts the “nyalak” process. 

In this sketch, they started by creating a “bentes” (boundary) between the land to be cleared and the other people’s land. It is important to avoid the fire from spreading into an unintended area. More problem will ensue. 

Once boundary was done, it is time for them to light the fire. The also used the bamboo-sprayer (ancet) since knapsack sprayer is a modern-time utilities. 

Usually, after “nyalak” there will be some unfortunate animals that was burnt by the fire. But respecting the natural cycle of life, these animal’s sacrifice will not go to waste as they will be a good source of food.

Nuruk by Kuari Zone

What comes after “nyalak” is the planting of paddy, also known as “nuruk”. It is usually done early in the morning, before dawn. In the past, villagers will fully utilise the day light. 

Hence, before sun even rises, they will go the paddy field. Bidayuhs usually plant hill paddy, an art that was perfected after centuries of living inland. 

Mr Joe Lihung who led the sketch did a bit of explanation too about the whole process. “Blio” or the fire torch that they use is also reacted using LED lamp. 

After planting the paddy, they will sound the pironchong which Bidayuhs believe can make the rain to fall, which is an important element of paddy planting.  

Nyabu by Bintau Zone

Bi-Bintau did the “nyabu” part of paddy planting. “Nyabu” means weeding, which is getting rid of unwanted plants around paddy. Otherwise, they might steal nutrients from paddy, thus not giving a desired yield in the end. 

In this sketch, Mr Gabuk led the sketch, where there were some romantic & comedic moment between him and his wife.   

Nguhut by Paddu Zone

At last, it is time to harvest the paddy. This duty fell into the hand of the host itself, Bi-Paddu led by Mr Jerry aka Babuk Subeg.

In this sketch, which starts with bringing of ripe paddy to the awah gawai. There, they harvest it using “katam” (small knife made from unused tin) and show it to the rest. 

Those process includes pounding the paddy to de-husk it, which later those grains will be separated from its husk using “tampi” using wind.

The completion of “nguhut” marks the end of the whole sketch.  

Ngiluling Sangar

After that, it is time to ‘bilanggi ngiluling sangar”, which is Langgi dance around offertory altar called sangar. This, as mentioned in my post called Nantang Jule, is just a symbolic. 

Langgi Rambun

Once Ngiluling Sangar was completed, it is time to “Langgi Rambun”, which is Langgi with everyone else present. After a while, I joined in the fun.

Entertainment Time

Langgi Rambun’s ending means the end of our traditional part of the evening. To kickstart the evening’s karaoke session, our emcee, Mr Tony called my name, to which I sung a popular Bidayuh song called “Joget Asih Boh Ganan”. 

Then, throughout the evening, I walked around and took a lot of random pictures, including Batch ’86 group photo. 

The End

At last, 4am marks the end of our event, which the last song was “Zombie” by The Cranberries, which was surprisingly had a lot of good response from the crowd. As usual, the ending song is Gelang Sipaku Gelang.

Though the song ended, a lot of youngsters still want to stay but what can they do but to disperse and hangout elsewhere because the venue is closing.

Epilogue

It was a fun Gawai-closing indeed, and by having this Gawai-closing, it is time to get back to reality, do what needs to be done and pursue personal goal(s). For those who is travelling back to their work place, safe journey. 

Have a good week ahead!

Your Tukang Rantek / Rockstar Emcee (R★MC),
Claudius

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