The Funeral of Simuk Siburan

Prologue

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. In this post, I’d like to share about the funeral of my grandmother, Mdm Rimut at Kpg Masaan, Siburan.

For Bidayuh Biatah, “simuk” means grandmother; while “tayung” means great grandmother.
For Bidayuh Serian, “tayung” means grandmother, while “ayak (dayung)” means great grandmother.

For the past few years, I have been sharing about her birthdays since she was in her 90s. In fact, it is an achievement because nowadays to achieve such age is a tall order. She even survived World War 2, Japanese Occupation, witnessed the formation of Malaysia, Confrontation, multiple economic turbulences, survived COVID-19 and finally breathed her last during peace time, surrounded by her children, grand children, and great grandchildren. 

Journey Home

As soon as I heard about the news of her passing, I immediately informed my boss, where he told me that just go first, and take care of work later. To have an understanding boss is a blessing from God indeed.

Last minute flight from AirAsia is crazy. The cost shoots up to RM1k. That’s ridiculous. Luckily, there is an alternative provided by MASWings. But regardless, last minute flight is not cheap. Anyway, a man got to do what a man got to do.

As soon I touched down, my sister and I went straight to our grandmother’s house. 

At Siburan

Upon our arrival, there is already a lot of people there, as in Bidayuh’s custom, where the family members and relatives will gather at the house, to welcome those who came to visit the departed. 

The she lies, at her sub-zero sanctuary, sleeping in peace, knowing that she has done her part in the world of the living, leaving behind her legacy.

Final Day at the House

On the following day, we visited our Simuk’s house once again, to gather and to carry out the prayer before we depart to the church.

Preparation For Final Journey

For us Bidayuh, we are not in a rush to bring the body to the church. But those from different background might find it hard to accept, especially when that person is dealing with funerals day in and day out. Just another Tuesday for that person, but for us, it is a life-changing event.

That person suddenly “take charge” and direct people to speed up the whole process, like an emcee on duty, but only have 5 min to finish the whole show.

If they are being asked to do so by family members or buy the catechist, I think it is alright and acceptable. But this is not.

If such person appears in Pichin’s funeral, that person will definitely get an earful from the family members of the departed. How dare he act like a boss and order people around during their funeral, when he is just an outsider?

Anyway, that’s my two cents. If you know, you know. Let’s end it here.

(Pli nak ngeneh-ngeneh inya, mekat adep ne inya sapa. Jamen ulah kai tantu).

The body is lifted from the freezer to her casket, her final resting vessel. Once it is lifted there, my aunties flock there to see her with their own eyes and mourns over her departure.

But kids are such a unique bunch. Regardless of what happened, they remain themselves and so, I capture them in my camera.

Such is life.

Then, preparation was made to bring the casket to the church. Flower boys are standing at the back of 4wd.  

Journey To St. Stephen Church of Sg Duuh

The sky was dark, as if it feels sad as well. Rain reflects the tears that fell to the ground.

My nephews and nieces told me about the arrival of a certain uninvited personnel, who joined our group photo as well.

With a little bit of editing, I manage to make him disappear from our group photo, which rightfully reserved to the descendants of Simuk. 

The whole ceremony was done in accordance to the Christian Anglican rites. For Catholics at the area, they will usually go to St Patrick’s Church instead, which not very far from our house.

Throughout the service as well, it rains heavily, a downpour that resembles the tears that my aunts and cousins cried throughout the day. 

The thing about guys in our family, we do shed tears, but only if it is really sad, just like this, and that is only for a while. After that, we will resume our stoic countenance. 

We waited outside for a while. In the meantime, we do take an opportunity to take pictures. Due to my long hair, my nephew and nieces called me “Uncle Rockstar”.

It took really a long while for the rain to let up. Fearing it might take the whole day, the undertakers gave a signal to us to proceed.

Therefore, proceed we shall be.

Fina

At Cemetary

You know, each funeral has its own story. For SImuk’s, it is the hearse (or the funeral van). Maybe it is the cold temperature, maybe it is due to mechanical failure. But some might say, it is due to the supernatural stuff.

But as a Christian, we should not believe in these stuff because it takes us away from our faith though we do not deny its existence, for our Almighty God creates all things visible and invisible.

The casket was lowered down, the last prayer was said and the soil was tossed symbolically to the grave. Then the undertakers poured cement on top of the grave to seal it off. 

We spend a brief moment at her grave before we depart to the house and take a break.

Rest After The Funeral Ceremony

We spend some time to mix with our relatives, an opportunity that is hard to come by, reserved for the most special of occasion. It is good to catch-up with fellow relatives because life brought us away from one another, though a certain point in time, we were once close.

After a while, it is time for us to depart. 

Official Last Day of Prayer To The Departed

For them, there were three nights of prayer for the departed. I joined the last one. For me, it is a good opportunity for me for me to meet the young ones, who follows me wherever I go. Like a remora to a shark. Shark references since these kids love Baby Shark Du Du Du.

Epilogue

It was an eventful weekend for our family, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank to those who helped us; be it from the church of St Stephen Sg Duuh, the band of underakers, and family that came from afar. 

Though death of a loved ones usually brings sorrow, but through this hardship, we learned that we are not alone. Through our faith, family members and community, we shall prevail over any hardship.

While their presence helps with the needful, their prayers provide solace for the soul.

May God bless the departed soul of Simuk. Amen.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Emcee Claud

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