Silamat Bitingkah, Amang Kon Kurut: The Funeral of Mr. Juram

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. In this post, I’d like to share about the funeral of Amang kon Kurut @ Gertrude (i.e. Kurut’s father in Bidayuh), Mr Sylvester Juram at Kpg Pichin, Serian.

“Silamat bitingkah” here means goodbye in Bidayuh Serian. [NEW] Tukang Rantek’s WhatsApp Channel

Prologue

The loss of Kurut’s father was rather shocking, because when we went to do carolling at their house, he did not have any major health issue etc. But what I learned from Kurut, 22 December 2023 was the day when he had a heat stroke and things went spiraling down from there. 

According to Sonny, he also experienced seizure & epilepsy. From CT scan, they learned that  there is some blood clot in his brain. He fell into coma some time after that.

Kurut’s mother also shared her sadness and for her, all of this is too fast. It was not expected. In fact, they were ready to celebrate Christmas this year – another lovely Christmas with their expanding family. 

But, God has a different plan for them. 

On the 3rd Jan 2024, Kurut’s father was called to the Lord.  Being a Christian, all we can do is to have faith in His plan for  He has something better for us.

Based on Kurut’s information, the funeral is on 5th Jan, which is what I will share here.

Gathering at the House

On the morning of 5th, I made my move to their house. There was already a lot of people there. Living in a close-knitted community, their presence is to provide comfort, solace and assistance to the grieving family because there is a lot of thing that needs to be done.

From cooking, managing the funeral, logistics etc, those can’t be handled by Kurut’s family alone. Hence the need for additional support, particularly in terms of religious matters. That’s where the religious leaders of our village came to support.

Upon my arrival, I met Kurut and Marian Sukina @ Taye there. Those ex-classmates of mine were close since kindergarten days. I also met Bill Hezron @ Kubil & Abin there. Kurut’s mother was seen there, visibly sad, but tried to be strong for her family.

It was solemn in the house. 

Inside there as well were the Sipaguh Funeral Services personnel, ready to transfer the body from refrigerated casket to the final casket. It is heavy and solid. The cross was made from “tahas” or ironwood in Bidayuh, the popular choice for heavy duty & long-term purpose, such as cross. 

I also had a catch-up with Sonny and we spoke about a lot of stuff, especially related to “turang jawa’s” health (“turang jawa” is a prefix that was used to indicate that a person is deceased). Also, he shared that few mysterious story related to the house during his death and what happened to the house and their vehicle, during the hour of his passing.

After a while, we spotted Mr Joe Lihung, one of prayer leader of Pichin entering and informed us that the grave is ready. With that signal, we proceed with the next phase; transfer of body.

The Transfer

The family members helped to his transfer to the new casket. Kurut’s father was well-dressed, with black necktie and pants, with white shirt. One of the person handling his body was his brother, which behind that stoic look, hides his sadness.

Prayer Prior Funeral Procession

After the transfer was completed, we were being led in prayer by Mr Robert, one of Prayer Leader (Pingulu Simayang) as well of Kpg Pichin.

The Funeral Procession

After the prayer was completed, it is time for us to transfer the casket to the church. It was a tedious process especially moving it from the platform to the lean trolley. Once it is on top of the trolley, it was a relatively easy task.

During the move, we followed the hearse closely. Out of respect, no one overtakes the hearse. So, there was a long queue of vehicle behind it. 

Arrival At Church

Upon our arrival, the men lifted the casket. No one was giving any instruction, but things just went smoothly without any issue.

Slowly, people made their move into the church and find the suitable seat. 

Over there, Mdm Lucia was ready to carry out the funeral service. At the musician’s station, we can see Mr Kevin, Mr Kalut, Mr Roger & Mr Yoyen. 

Funeral Service

Mdm Lucia led the funeral service. At Pichin, funeral service is rather straightforward. There is no eulogy part, because one explanation was if you want to say good things to someone, it is better done when that person is still alive. That will make it more meaningful.

Otherwise, they just stick with the usual Funeral Service program. 

Nothing different from other funeral service. But the emotion didn’t stop flowing for his family members, and Kurut’s mother can be seen as the one most impacted, as well as Kurut and her brother, Abin.

At the end of funeral service, as usual, there is a group photo part, which is where I lend my expertise as “Tukang Rantek”, the title that I have reinforced after all these years taking pictures, be it happy or sad occasion like this one. 

Once I’ve took the picture of loading into the hearse, I quickly made my way to the cemetery of Pichin, or what we called “Pingeren”.

Pingeren Bi-Piching

At the cemetery, I wait for the hearse. While waiting, I took photo of the undertakers, group 13 was on duty. Mr Ginu was one of them. 

Then, when it arrived, the transfer begins. However, this time it is more critical because one small wrong step, they will drop it into a 7 feet hole. 

But, they are experts. So nothing untoward happens. It is also thanks to their close collaboration and good coordination between the team at the front and the back.

Rites of Commital Begins

Mr Joe Liang a.k.a “MJ” (Mang Jalep, or Jalep’s father) leads the Rite of Commital, while Mr Robert covers him from the heat of the sun. During the Rite of Commital, i.e. to commit the body to the ground, the prayer that goes like this “we therefore commit this body to the ground, earth to earth, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life”.

The once-noisy cemetery with people antics was in complete silence during the prayer, to honour the departed soul. It was only when the undertakers lower the casket it started to be noisy again, especially when they want to lower it down. It is not an easy task, considering the weight of the casket. 

After a while, the heavy lift was completed. 

There was a short prayer before those who present did the customary of burying the departed by throwing part of the soil to the grave. 

After that, the undertakers took over. The temporary shade was also removed while the undertakers continue their task of burying the casket. In the end, the was a concluding prayer by MJ before the end of the Rite of Commital. 

There was a bit of light-hearted moment when Mr Kimpa shouted Nam Stengah at the cemetery, which Pichin’s slogan for party hard. Then he changed it to Dua Belas Stengah, since that was the estimated time we’ll finish the whole thing. Kubil also was there, trying to cheer up by posing for the camera. That includes Monet, a lady drummer of Kpg Pichin that suddenly became Monyet.

Mr Roger of Mezzavoce can be seen at the corner.

At the end of it, I took Kurut’s family group photo before I bid farewell to them. 

Epilogue

Death bring sorrow to those who is affected, particularly those who loves and cares about the departed one. But it also makes us realise that we are not alone – we have family that helps us through tough times, the community that is willing to lend a helping hand whenever we are in any hardship, particularly a close village community such as in Kpg Pichin, and other place that has similar ties.

Their presence helps with the needful throughout the mourning period, while their prayers help to provide solace to the soul and spirit. 

May God bless the departed soul of Amang kon Kurut. Amen.

Your Tukang Rantek/ Rockstar Emcee,

Claudius https://linktr.ee/claudiusweson

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