Gawai 2007 Scene 2

The Journey Home

Its "Balik Kampung" time! Gawai Dayak like other festivities in Malaysia would not be complete without holding Open Houses. Friends and relatives can visit one another, share stories and taste the traditional food and drinks that's only available during Gawai. Drinks like tuak will be aplenty - it provides you with a good excuse. "Honey... I am drunk. Happy Gawai". Usually you will get away with it - even if you are not drunk!! Probably you want to escape doing some house chores like cutting the grass which is over grown at your backyard or do the dishes..... just close your eyes and pretend you had too much to drink.... after all its Gawai.

But as I have mentioned in my first post the best part is about going home. And its more exciting if your "kampung" is in a far far away land - in the interiors - reachable only after using different modes of transport (road, air and water). This developing State of ours still has some catching up to do. Anyway I like to drive home most of the time. Its quite interesting to see the 'changes' that take place along the way - or the 'not so many changes'..... Usually it would take seven hours with those undulating winding roads. My girl, Shania, is used to these long trips and doesn't complain much. Being a driver, you will only have one thing in your mind and that is, One you have a reliable and safe machine to drive, and two, the others on the roads are as careful as you.

Visiting Rumah Manai, Nanga San in Lubok Antu

Alont the way to Sibu I took the opportunity to go to visit my brother in law's longhouse at Nanga San in Lubok Antu (I blogged about the Ai Ijok here last year). Lubok Antu Town itself is quite a distant from the main road (about 40 km) and getting to the longhouse from the town (on gravel road)takes another 15 minutes.

The road to Nanga San - the gravel road can be very tricky

Arriving at Rumah Manai Nanga San

The look of a modern longhose - fully tiled and electricity is available (from the Batang Ai Hidro)

Sitting in the ruai (hallway) and drinking beer......the beer cans will be "rolled" to you

Gawai gatherings usually involved some form of animal killing - here a reared pig is being prepared for weighing

Weighing being done (I saw it was about 64 kg) - the purpose is to determine the cost and divide the meat amongst the longhouse folks

While the meat is being barbecued at the back the discussion session at the 'ruai' hallway goes on. When the meat is ready it will be brought to the ruai while some will be distributed to the other families ('bilek') who had purchased some of its part

When there are a lot of visitors - food will be prepared en massed - our lunch that afternoon comprised of meat soup, traditional vegetable (i forgot the name... hehehe)

Typical scene at any longhouse will be the guni 'beras' or rice grain sacks - as most Ibans in the interiors are mainly farmers. In the old days these rice grains would be stored on the 'sadau' or attics of the wooden longhouses.

Typical scene in any longhouse during Gawai too would be that you will see many strange liquor bottles. You only see these bottles in exclusive pubs in the City! I was served this Johnny Walker Swing for lunch and its a real swinger!

It was quite a memorable visit as I am able to compare the development brought to rural areas - from one longhouse to the other, throughout Sarawak, differ - in terms of amenities and facilities available. And hurrah for Celcom, they really made their presence felt here as I noticed the signal can be 'detected' outside the longhouse compund. We left the longhouse at about 4 p.m that evening and headed for Sibu, which is the next destination in this long trip back home (balik kampung).


Do you have any photos of Iban chicks? Are they as fierce as their male headhunters counterparts?

Food.... glorious food, wonderful food and bountiful food!!!
Anonymous said…
apuuu enda alu swing pala laban pangka butul swing nyak? hehe