Sunday, 20 July 2008

Early Iban Migration 3

Migration to south-west Sarawak.
When a number of Iban had settled along the upper Merakai River in Indonesian Borneo, a chief named Gelungan and his followers moved out from that area and settled in the hills of Balau Ulu situated between the Merakai and Undup watersheds. Following their settlement another chief named Langkup came out of Merakai with his followers to settle in the mid Undup River.
After the arrival of these two groups of Iban in the Undup another chief named Jelian came out of Merakai with his followers and settled at Wong Empangu on the lower Undup. Soon after Jelian and his followers had settled at Wong Empangu, Gelungan and his people left the Balau Ulu hills and moved down the Undup and the Batang Lupar to settle at Balau Hi hill which is situated between the modern town of Simanggang and the Lingga River. Because they had twice lived near hills of the same name, they called themselves the Balau Dayaks, even though they came originally from the same area as other Iban groups in Sarawak.
At this time Langkup migrated down the Undup with his followers. Nothing much is known of this chief other than that he married a woman who was also named Langkup. Due to this coincidence of names, which is forbidden by Iban matrimonial law, Langkup’s wife’s name had to be changed and she was later called Lemok. All of these chiefs were pioneers of the Undup, one of the right tributaries of the Batang Lupar River.
At Balau Ili hill Gelungan married a woman named Sendi, the only daughter of a chief named Dendan of Sebuyau. After this marriage Gelungan led some of his followers down the Batang Lupar to settle at Balu Sebuyau near the mouth of the Batang Lupar River. It was because they settled at this place that they came to call themselves the Sebuyau Dayaks, though they, too, have the same origin as other Iban.
From the Sebuyau tributary, Gelungan again migrated westward with his followers to the lower Sadong river. Finally, after he had lived in various places in the Sadong, Gelungan died of old age. After the death of her husband, Sendi was told in a dream by goddess Kumang to look in the Skrang for a man named Guang to be her husband. Similarly Guang, a widower of the Enteban, Skrang, learned in a dream from the goddess Kumang to accept a wife named Sendi who would come from far away in order to marry him.
After she had had this dream, Sendi went by boat paddled by her slaves to the Skrang to look for Guang. She left her children by Gelungan behind at Sadong. When Sendi married the widower Guang, their marriage violated a prohibition known as Ngemulu Antu and could not take place until they had paid the fines demanded by custom to the local chief to prevent subsequent misfortune.
After Sendi had married Guang of Skrang some of Gelungan’s followers migrated westward from Sadong and settled at Merdang Lumut, Merdang Limau and Merdang Gayam along the Semarahan River. From these places they moved again, settling eventually at Tabuan4 near the modern town of Kuching and at Sungai Tanju.
Some decades before the first visit of James Brooke to Sarawak in 1839, a Sebuyau Chief named Nyambong, due to his enmity with the Saribas Iban, migrated from the Batang Lupar to the Lundu River, not far from the western boundary of Sarawak with Indonesian Borneo at Cape Datu.
After Nyambong’s death he was succeeded as chief of the community by his son Jugah who, from the beginning of Brooke rule in Sarawak, helped the Rajah fight the Saribas and Skrang Iban of the Second Division. During one of these expeditions, in this case against Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku in August, 1849, Jugah lost two of his sons, Bunsi and Tujang
Balau and Sebuyau Iban.
In addition to the descendants of Gelungan and Sendi and other Iban who settled in the Lingga and Sebuyau rivers of the lower Batang Lupar, another chief named Blassan moved from Tapang Peraja in the Katungau River, migrating to the Sebuyau not far from the mouth of the Batang Lupar river. Here he had his people clear land for their farms up the Sebuyau River as far as the Lintah stream. When Blassan died he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Entri who continued to fell more forest for padi fields as far as Tembawai Panjai. Here he died of old age. After the death of Entri, Dangu succeeded him as chief, and felled still more virgin forest around Tembawai Panjai. He was killed when he joined “Ijau Lang” and his warriors when they fought against the Saribas Iban under Unal “Bulan” at Plassan, near the mouth of the Saribas river. This occurred after Jame Brooke had been proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak.
After Dangu’s death, Bugih succeeded him as chief. He led his people to fell the virgin jungle on the left bank of the Sebuyau River as far as the Simunjan and the Semabang watersheds. After this, he and his people lived at Langgong Brikok where Bugih died of old age. Bugih was succeeded as chief by Demong. The latter was succeeded by Saga who was still living with his people at Sabangan some fifteen years ago.
At about the same time as when Blassan migrated to the Sebuyau in the lower Batang Lupar, two Iban leaders named Nyanggau and Bara journeyed from Tapang Peraja, on the Ketungau river of Kalimantan Barat, to Temudok of the Dau Engkerebang. After they had lived for many years at Temudok they moved westward to Melugu where they lived in two separate longhouses. Bara lived at Tembawai Tinting and Nyanggau at the Riang stream. From Tembawai Tinting, Bara moved to Tembawai Empang on the Engkeramut stream while Nyanggau died at Sungai Riang.
Together with other Iban groups, the Balau migrated from Indonesian Borneo to Sarawak and settled at Bukit Balau at the head of the Undup River. From Balau hill, this community moved down to Kelasin under their chief Sambas. While living at this settlement, they were continually attacked by the Kantu Dayaks from the Indonesian side of the border. After Sambas died, his son Juntang became chief and led his followers to settle at Dau in Indonesian Borneo, a region already settled by the Dau Iban mentioned in Part 1. Due to the fact that the region was already settled by the Dau Iban, Juntang and his followers soon returned to the Sarawak side of the border and finally settled at Batu Besai at the foot of the Kalingkang range. After they had been settled for many decades they moved down to live at Selepong. From there, they moved to Tunggal and then to Langgong, where they lived for only a few years. From Langgong they migrated to the upper reaches of the Lingga River. From these settlements some moved to a place called Bangunan, while another group lived at Repak Tepus. From the latter settlement, Juntang and his followers moved westward and settled at Abok. Here Juntang died of old age.
After Juntang’s death, his son Ali became chief. The people under him divided up. Ali led his followers to the upper Sadong region, others moved to Muding and Merai, while some remained at Abok. It was while Ali and his followers were living in the Ulu Sadong, that James Brooke was proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak. Ali was very loyal to the Brooke Raj. At Ulu Sadong Ali’s followers again separated. Some of them dispersed to Sebat, Sungai Pinang, Keruin and Nyelitak where their descendants are still living to this day. After Ali died, he was succeeded by his son Ringkai as chief. When Jawa died he was succeeded by his son Penghulu Mulok who resigned only a few years ago at the expiration of a five years’ term as Penghulu.
While Ali was living in the Sadong another Balau Iban leader, Ijau anak Busut, lived at Empili. The latter, through his grandmother, Nagi, who married Jambai, was descended from Gelungan and his wife Sendi. Before they moved to the lower Batang Lupar, Jambai and his wife Nagi lived at Kumpang on the middle Batang Ai. But after Jambai had died at Kumpang, his son Busut moved to Empili in the Sadong where he died of old age. He was succeeded as chief by his son Ijau “Lang” who led the Iban of the Sadong in the early days of Brooke rule.
It happened that in Ijau’s time, one of his men murdered another Iban named Kilat. This murder was reported by the victim’s relatives to the Rajah at Kuching. On receiving the report, the Rajah personally led a small expedition to punish Ijau, the chief of the region. But when his force reached Empili, the Rajah noticed a white flag flown by Ijau as a sign of peace. Therefore a compromise was reached and no skirmish took place, as Ijau assured the Rajah of his loyalty. Before he left Empili for his way home, the Rajah presented iron cannon to Ijau to cement his loyalty. Today the cannon is at Beti’s house at Nyelitak on the Ulu Sadong river.
After he had officially submitted to the Brooke Raj, Ijau and his family and followers left Sadong to settle at Banting in the Lingga tributary of the Batang Lupar. While he was here, he was continually at war with the Saribas and Skrang Iban. At last, in one of these wars, he was killed by Unal “Bulan” and his Saribas fighters at Plassan near the mouth of the Saribas River. Because of his death, his son-in-law Janting attacked Rimbas in the Saribas that same year.
Another version of this history is that when the Iban came out of the Kapuas basin and migrated to Sarawak, they first settled at Bukit Balau Ulu in the head¬waters of the Undup River. While they were still living in the Undup near Bukit Balau Ulu they and the Dau Iban were continually attacked by the Malays and the Skrang Iban, so that at last they fled away to the Lingga, Banting and Bukit Balau Hill below Simanggang.
While living at Bukit Balau Hill, some of them lived under a chief named Peranti whose house contained only ten families. When this house was demolished, Peranti led his followers to live at Selanjan, where he died of old age. After his death, his nephew Jali succeeded him as chief, and led his people to live at Sabemban, while others lived with the Dau Iban in the Empelanjan, Engkeramut and Selepong longhouses. When Jali died his son Aban became chief and was succeeded by Mambang, who when he died was succeeded by his son Jeritan, the present headman of Sabemban longhouse.
Iban migration from Indonesian Borneo through Kumpang.
While Iban leaders such as Jelian, Gelungan and Langkup were leading their followers on migrations into Sarawak through the Undup tributary, other leaders led migrations into the Batang Ai through the Kumpang, a tributary which joins the Batang Ai above Engkelili.
The first chief who led his followers to descend the Kumpang was Lanong. As he was the first migration leader to enter the new country, and he and his people settled permanently on the banks of Kumpang. They called themselves the Kumpang Dayaks.
Another chief who led his followers to migrate to Sarawak from Indonesian Borneo and used this route was Medan. He and his people first settled temporarily in the Kumpang but later moved down to Sengkarong below Engkilili. Medan was a famous ancestor of the Belambang people who to the present-day live in the area lying between the Kumpang and Undup tributaries of the Batang Lupar. They were followed by Ambau (not Pateh Ambau) who came later with Kanyong and settled at Tanjong Melarang, and Semalanjat who settled at Bungkap. The latter is a well known ancestor of the Bengap Dayaks.
From the Tiang Laju range Gunggu led his people to settle at Meriu near Engkilili. At this place they separated; some settled with the Belambang below Engkilili and others went to the Lemanak River, a right tributary of the Batang Lupar whose mouth is not far below Engkelili.
The early Ulu Ai, Skrang and Lemanak Iban.
A few decades after the Undup stream had been settled by Iban under Gelungan, Jelian and Langkup, the two leaders Meringgai and Manggai moved down the Undup and went up the Skrang to settle at the mouth of the Tisak stream and at the middle of Skrang river respectively. At this time the mouth of the Skrang was already settled by Lau Moa and his followers who had come from the Sadong and lower Batang Lupar. He was probably one of the followers of Sera Bungkok who had moved from Cape Datu to settle at the mouth of the Rajang River with his brother Senaun, the father of Tugau, the Melanau ancestor. After Manggi and Meringai had migrated to the Skrang, many more migration leaders came from the Batang Ai and Undup, such as Guang who settled at Nanga Enteban, Entigar at Nanga Belaai, Chaong at Tanjong Lipat and Sudok and his brother Malang at Lubok Numpu and later Manggai (see below) and Tindin the son of Chaong who migrated to the Saribas to join his daughter Rinda, who married Demong the son of the Bukitan chief Entinggi of the Paku.
In the Batang Ai, a certain chief at Seremat named Bau married Selangka (f) by whom he begot Chandu (f), Sentu (f), Buja, Mawan, Pagan, Gemong and Lanyi (f). After Chandu had married Gallau, the son of Mawar Biak of Entanak, Saribas, her brothers and sisters left Seremat to migrate up and down the Batang Lupar. Niok, her husband and children moved to Nanga Lubang Baya in the upper Ai. It was from here that their descendants, Naga and Sumping migrated to the Kanyau in Kalimantan and from here later migrated to the Katibas to become the first Iban to settle in that river. After their death they were succeeded as chiefs of the Rejang Iban by their descendants Unggat, Matahari, Gerinang and Keling, ancestors of the recent Penghulus Jinggut, Kumbong and Jimbun of the Baleh.
Mawan and his children migrated to the Ulu Lingga and settled with the Dau and Balau Dayaks, while Buja and his family moved to the upper Ai to settle at Nanga Buie. Their brother Sentu moved down the Batang Ai to live at Nanga Kumpang, while another brother named Gemong moved up the river to live in the Delok tributary. Pagan lived at the Mepi stream. He was the ancestor of Rabai, the wife of the famous Batang Ai war leader, the late Penghulu Ngumbang of Mepi.
Geographically Lemanak country is located between the areas settled by the Batang Ai and Batang Skrang Iban. Due to its location, the people of Lemanak suffered incessant hardship because of conflicts between the people of Skrang and the Batang Ai, who fought in the Lemanak country. For this reason the Lemanak was never fully populated by the Iban. Many times, when the Batang Ai warriors failed in attacking the Skrangs, or vice versa, war parties simply satisfied them¬selves by killing the defenseless Lemanak Iban. In the early days of Brooke rule, when the Batang Ai chief Ngumbang quarrelled with Genam of the Skrang, the people who suffered most from the quarrel were the Lemanaks. Similarly when Saang the nephew of Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku murdered the Seriang Iban, the Iban of Lemanak also suffered considerably, since the Seriang and the Saribas Iban fought each other in their country in the 1870s.
Due to these endless hardships, the Lemanak Iban migrated to other rivers without the knowledge of their own leaders, and settled apart from each other in the Kanowit, Julau and Nyelong rivers. The majority of them settled in the lower Julau. On their way to these rivers, they often stopped one or two years in the upper Saribas to farm the Layar peoples’ lands. But because the Saribas country was fully inhabited since the days of Patinggi Ngadan, there was no more room for these unsettled Lemanak Iban to live permanently; so they left for the Rejang area.
Early in this century when Ngumbang and Bantin attacked the Lemanak Iban at Sebiau, they killed or captured seventy-two of them. Because of this defeat, Apai Jelema and his followers migrated to the Sabelak where they settled with their friends who had worked as fortmen at Kubong in the 1880s. The latter had settled at Roban, in the Sabelak, a right tributary of the Krian River.
Patinggi Gurang of Kayong
Patinggi Gurang, a Sumatran ancestor, was a famous nobleman of Kayong. He lived not far from the present-day city of Pontianak in Indonesian Borneo and was a fisherman. One day when he returned from fishing, he discovered his golden mascot was stolen. He became worried and asked his young son, Patinggi Ngadan, to search for it at once.
One day he again went to fish in the sea. While fishing he found a kedundong fruit caught in his net. Since his arrival in Kalimantan he had never before seen such a fruit. So he picked it up and on arriving home that evening, instead of eating it, he threw the fruit to the ground below the house so that it might grow.
The kedundong tree sprouted and grew very fast so that it soon overshadowed the whole of the Kayong village. On seeing this the Kayongians decided to fell the tree. They cut at it but their adzes could not fell it. They tried again and again to cut it down using many kinds of iron axes. But none even scratched the tree’s bark. Finally one man thought of cutting it with an axe made of lead, and with it he felled the kedundong tree very easily.
After the tree had been felled, Patinggi Gurang again sent his young son Patinggi Ngadan to search for the lost golden mascot.12 Ngadan did so going from village to village up and down the great Kapuas river. But he could find no trace of the stolen mascot.
Having become discouraged in his search of the Kapuas region, Ngadan walked overland to Sadong (now in Sarawak) to find out whether anyone there had any knowledge of the theft of his father’s mascot. None knew of it, so he continued his wandering overland to the Batang Lupar River. There too he secretly enquired about the theft.
Failing to discover anything as to its whereabouts, Ngadan continued his wandering by boat from the Batang Lupar to the Saribas river. In the Saribas he stayed temporarily at Plassan. From there he again moved on and stayed the night at Tanjong Orang Taui, which is also known as Tanjong Rangka or Tanjong Pendam. From there, he paddled up to a place where he met a man named Talap making a canoe at the mouth of the Ban stream below the present town of Belong. Upon meeting Talap, Ngadan enquired the extent of land he owned up the river. Talap told him that all the lands passed by the wood chips he had cut from the boat he was fashioning belonged to him. Ngadan was pleased to hear this, and so he stopped paddling. His boat was only drifting up the river following the flowing tide.
When he reached a certain place called Bangai, the tide turned. Because of this Ngadan moored his boat and at the same time fixed his boundary with Talap at this point. It was and is still followed to this day by the peoples of Pasa and those of the Layar.
After mooring his boat, Ngadan took his flints to strike a fire. As he struck them, one of the flints fell into the river and at once miraculously became a huge boulder, still known to this day as Batu Api. This boulder still serves to remind all generations in the Layar that it was and is forever the boundary between the lands belonging to the descendants of Patinggi Ngadan and those belonging to the descendants of Talap.
Patinggi Ngadan built his house here. On the site of this house he planted a durian tree which is still growing on the spot to this day. Some seventy years ago, when the Dayaks and Malays quarrelled over farming lands along the Layar River, the latter claimed that this durian tree was theirs. They lost the case, as it was truly planted by Patinggi Ngadan, who was an ancestor of the Dayaks.
Some years afterward, Patinggi Ngadan left this house to live at Tanjong Berundang, which was and is still known as Kubur Lunyai, opposite the present Skuyat village. In the olden days this place was also called Lubok Binsang Pupong Langang. After living here for sometime, he moved upriver to settle at Batu Lintang.
While he was living here, life was very dangerous. No one dared bathe alone in the Layar River, due to the many crocodiles that lived in the river at that time. And no men dared to wander freely in the forests, due to the many tigers that roamed there. To overcome these difficulties Patinggi Ngadan and his followers made a safe bathing place slightly inside the Batu Lintang stream.
Some years after they had lived at Batu Lintang, one morning Patinggi Ngadan’s sister named Nara went to take her bath in the stream. On the way she saw a shell armlet (simpai rangki’) lying on the roadside. When she came home she told Patinggi about it: The latter strongly advised her not to touch it - for it was surely a tiger’s lure, or bait.
On the next morning as she was again going to bathe, she saw a different kind of armlet lying at the same spot. Again, she told her brother. On the next day, when she passed the same spot to bathe, she saw a long type of pelaga and other kinds of beads left lying in the same place. The armlets she saw the previous days were no longer there. She again related the story to her brother.
Finally on the fourth day, as she passed the same spot, instead of seeing beads and armlets as before, she saw lensat and sibau fruits lying on the roadside. She moved them with her foot, in order that children would not see and carry them away. When she told Patinggi Ngadan about this, he scolded her.
“You should not touch nor have anything to do with these fruit”, said her brother angrily.
“It was merely because I was afraid that the children might come and attempt to carry them away”, replied Nara sadly.
“If you really have touched them”, answered Patinggi, “You are now exposed to misfortune (puni), because you have had contact with a lure”.
Due to this, Patinggi Ngadan presently called for his slaves to cut down all of the banana plants at Emperan Tabau which was situated slightly below the village landing place. From their stalks Patinggi’s slaves erected a stockade in which Nara was hidden. The fence of the stockade was strongly lined with seven rows of stalks stacked on one another. It was then fully covered with seven layers of Iban woven blankets (pua’ kumbu’).
After Nara had been secured inside the stockade, at dark there came a tiger from the direction of Bangat Hills. Its roars were heard by all the people of the region. After it had stopped roaring, the ground around the stockade was shaken and the stockade broken. Those who stood guard nearby stabbed the tiger with their spears and shot it with their blowpipe, until the tiger was killed.
A tiny scratch made by the tiger on Nara’s body became an incurable wound, which caused her to remain unmarriageable all the days of her life.
Soon after this happening, Patinggi Ngadan went to inspect his lands up the Layar river. As he sprinkled the river banks, the gravel-beds, the mumban and the meruju trees with holy water, he said, “If any person, who is not of my descent, poisons the fish in this river, let no fish be stupefied and die.”
It was due to this prayer of Patinggi Ngadan that whenever tuba-fishing is performed in the Layar River, a man of his direct line is called to spill the poisonous tuba into the river to make it effective.
Patinggi Ngadan went upriver as far as Kerangan Patinggi (Patinggi’s gravel-bed) where he cut notches in a belian tree trunk. This belian trunk still remains there to this day and is known as Tras Tangkal Patinggi.
Sometime afterwards Patinggi Ngadan heard the news that Sampar of Penebak in the Ulu Layar wanted to migrate down to live in his land. Being certain of this, he arranged his slaves to hang one ringka and one selabit basket from poles at the mouth of a stream opposite the Tras Tangkal Patinggi. It is due to this that this stream is known as Sungai Ringka. Patinggi made clear to Sampar in this way that if he attempted to settle in his land downriver, he would either fight or fine him for migrating there without his consent. When Sampar heard this, he dismissed the idea of migrating. As a matter of fact, Patinggi moved down from Batu Lintang to live at Nanga Jaloh or Lupa which was about five miles down the river.
In the tusut genealogies it is remembered that Patinggi Ngadan married Lamentan and they begot a daughter Bata and a son Labun. Labun married Sansi and begot a son Jegera. After his marriage, Labun separated from his followers in his father’s house and found a new settlement at Lupa which was situated seven hundred yards down¬river.
Eventually, the people of these two villages started their traditional game of cock-fighting at a place between their longhouses. They held these cock-fights day after day. After the cocks had all been killed, they fought the hens, and after the hens had all died, they fought their eggs. In his sleep one night, Patinggi dreamed of meeting a spirit of a cock who told him that as they had been excessively cruel to the fowls, they too would suffer the same fate by dying disastrously.
A few days after this dream, a large kite was seen flying and swooping over the roofs of their two longhouses. The inhabitants became sick and died in due course, until there were not enough able-bodied survivors left to bury the corpses of those who had perished. Due to this disastrous epidemic, the survivors fled away and the villages became rotten. Their sites in later years became two large burial grounds called Pendam Lupa and Pendam Jaloh respectively.
Malays and Iban in the Saribas.
Rusak was a grandson of Jelian of the Undup. He migrated with his people to the Paku after Tindin and his followers had already settled in the area. The story of Tindin, who was mentioned at the beginning of Part Two, was told in a book called Sea Dayaks of Borneo (1967a). When he came he settled at Nanga Sekundong. Shortly after he had come to live in the Paku, Rusak heard that a group of people was living far away downriver, near the mouth of the Saribas. Anxious to know who they were, he went downriver in his canoe to meet them. When he came to Nanga Luba, a few miles below Nanga Paku, he stopped owning to the strong tide.
As he was sitting in his canoe, he heard someone coming upriver in a boat, traveling with the tide. Seeing the stranger, he asked where he was going. The man replied that he came from the sea (laut) and was heading upriver to meet the Dayaks. Rusak told him that he was a Dayak himself, going downriver to see the Lugu. Hearing this, a man asked Rusak how far downriver the land belonged to the Dayaks, Rusak told him that as Nanga Luba was the first meeting place of Dayak and “Laut” (Malay), the same spot would become their future boundary. The man agreed to this and said that forever the Laut would settle downriver and the Dayaks, upriver. After this meeting of Rusak and the Lugu, who later became Malays, the Iban of the Saribas have called the Malays “Laut”.
Some time after this meeting another group of Iban under the leadership of Manggi came to live amongst the Lugu at the mouth of the Saribas. Manggi bad migrated from the Undup to Sungai Tisak near the mouth of the Skrang. He had gone from the Tisak to Ulu Maludam and down the Maludam to the sea.
Several decades after Rusak had met the Lugu, Temenggong Kadir came to Semaruang, near the present Malay village of Beladin, by sailing boat and anchored at Manggi’s landing place. Manggi went to the boat to meet him. He asked where he had come from and where he was going. Temenggong Kadir told him that he had come from Brunei, and said that if he, Manggi, agreed to accept him and his friends, they would settle at Semaruang. Without consulting his followers, Manggi said that he would accept Temenggong Kadir and his friends in order to increase the number of people who were already settled there. At this time Tindin and Rusak were living in the Paku, Talap in the lower Layar, Patinggi Ngadan at Batu Api above Betong and Temegoh in the Bangkit tributary of the lower Paku.
Shortly after Temenggong Kadir had settled at Semaruang, a certain trader came from the town of Pagar Ruyong in Minangkabau in Sumatra. His name was Abang Gudam. He brought with him cloth to sell. On his arrival he met Manggi and Temenggong Kadir who agreed to let him trade temporarily. When Temenggong Kadir spoke to Abang Gudam, he related to him the story of how and why he had come there from Brunei. He informed him that he had worked as an interpreter in the Sultan’s court at Brunei for many years, until his daughter named Dayang Chi was seized to be one of the Sultan’s concubines. It was because of his hatred of the Sultan for this deed, he said, that he bad fled from Brunei to live with the Dayaks. Temenggong Kadir also told Abang Gudam that his daughter Dayang Chi was very fair. If anyone could get her away from the Sultan’s harem, he would not hesitate to let her marry him. Thus Temenggong Kadir tried to persuade Abang Gudam, who was a very handsome man, to rescue Dayang Chi from the hands of the Sultan of Brunei.
Hearing these words, Abang Gudam said that he was on his way to trade in Brunei, but if he were to go there, even if he were to take the Temenggong’s daughter by force from the palace, he would not recognise her. Temenggong Kadir said that he had small cannon (bedil) in his possession which Dayang Chi liked very much. If she saw the cannon, he said, she would weep, recognising it as the property of her family. He suggested that the best thing to do would be for Abang Gudam to take this cannon with him, and when he arrived at Brunei he should try to persuade Dayang Chi to come down to the boat to buy things, so that she would see the cannon which she would instantly recognise. He also told Abang Gudam that in order to recognise Dayang Chi, he should look for a black mole on her throat and another on her neck. After a long conversation between them, Abang Gudam asked Temenggong Kadir to lend him the cannon so that be could take it to Brunei.
Next morning Abang Gudam and his companions set sail for Brunei. After a month-long voyage, they reached Brunei Bay and anchored their boat at the public landing place in the centre of the town. Abang Gudam then opened the windows of his boat in order to put his cloth on display. On seeing the unusually magnificent display a number of customers came to see the beautiful coloured silks. Even though many people came, Abang Gudam only stayed there for one night. Early the next day he moved his boat to anchor at the Sultan’s jetty. While he was trading there a great number of customers came to purchase cloth from him. A day later, Abang Gudam went to the palace to present to the Sultan a large quantity of fine silk and other cloth. The Sultan was pleased with the gifts. He said that he would reciprocate with anything, including one of his wives or concubines that Abang Gudam should choose. Abang Gudam was delighted with the Sultan’s offer, and he told him he would think about it and tell the Sultan in a day or two.
In the evening the entire Royal wives and concubines went down to Abang Gudam’s boat to purchase cloth. As she entered the boat, Dayang Chi saw the cannon and instantly recognized it as belonging to her family. When she touched it she burst into tears. As she wept, Abang Gudam glanced at her neck and saw the moles described by Temenggong Kadir. Abang Gudam looked at her and asked whether she was the Sultan’s wife. She said she was, and she told him that she had come to purchase cloth. Abang Gudam respectfully begged her to choose any cloth she wished. She chose fifteen pieces and when she offered money in payment, Abang Gudam would not accept it, but said that the cloth was hers to keep completely free of charge.
After his wives and concubines had returned to the palace, the Sultan enquired as to who the trader was and from whence he came. They informed him that the trader’s name was Abang Gudam and that he came from Pagar Ruyong, Minangkabau, on the island of Sumatra. On learning the trader’s name, the Sultan proceeded to the boat. As he went inside the boat he respectfully enquired as to the country of the trader’s origin. Abang Gudam said that he had come from Minangkabau in Sumatra and was the son of Dato Bandahara Harun of Pagar Ruyong. The Sultan asked how far Sumatra was from Brunei. Abang Gudam said that if he was sailing against the wind, he could not reach Brunei in two months. In the course of their conversation Abang Gudam asked why the Sultan had never traveled overseas. The Sultan said that he could not possibly spare the time for a long journey because he lacked a trustworthy officer to administer the country in his absence. The Sultan asked Abang Gudam how he could leave his country for such a long period. Abang Gudam answered that, unlike the Sultan, he was not a ruler and had nothing to do with the administration of his father’s kingdom. The Sultan asked whether Abang Gudam had any brothers and sisters. He said he had three, one brother, Dato Bandahara Puteh, and two sisters, Dayang Ungu and Dayang Remindan.
After this meeting the Sultan formally invited Abang Gudam to visit his palace. Abang Gudam respectfully declined, saying that he could not spare the time as he was still dealing with his customers. Besides he would stay many more days in Brunei. After saying this, Abang Gudam presented to the Sultana a very magnificent piece of cloth embroidered with gold thread. The Sultan returned to the palace and handed the cloth to the Sultana who was most pleased to accept it, as she had never in her life seen such a beautiful piece.
The next morning the Sultan asked his cook to slaughter a fat cow, a goat and a great number of chickens for a reception to be held in honour of the visit of Abang Gudam, the nobleman of Minangkabau. He also called for experts to cook the meat with spices and condiments. When the food was ready, the Sultan and senior members of his administration went down to the jetty to formally invite Abang Gudam. While they were on their way to the jetty, gendang music was beaten in the palace to herald the grand luncheon.
Upon the arrival of the Sultan and his entourage at his boat, Abang Gudam welcomed them and eventually took leave of them to dress himself for the reception in the palace. He took special care to dress himself in the best clothes he had, including a pair of shoes embroidered in gold.
When Abang Gudam was ready, the Sultan conducted him to the palace. As they arrived he was taken to the seat of honour, at the Sultan’s right hand side close to the senior ministers and war leaders of the state. When they had all taken their seats they proceeded to discuss Islamic religious law, Abang Gudam, as a Muslim nobleman, was an authority on such matters. From the tone of his conversation and his overall etiquette, the high ranking Brunei officials were thoroughly convinced that Abang Gudam had been brought up in one of the most respected ruling families of Sumatra. Eventually the food was served and after the meal was over, the Sultan requested that Abang Gudam should stay the night in the palace. However, the latter said he would have to return to the boat to attend to his business. On bearing this, the Sultan was troubled, as he still had not decided on what to present to Abang Gudam in return for his earlier generosity.
Abang Gudam was very much attracted by Dayang Chi who was a very beautiful woman. So next morning he went to see the Sultan in the palace. During the audience, he told the ruler, that he came to take leave from him, so that he might sail away. He said that in regard to the present which the Sultan had promised him, he would be very grateful if the latter would give him Dayang Chi, one of the Sultan’s concubines. The Sultan kept his word and asked Dayang Chi to be taken from his harem to go with Abang Gudam. When Dayang Chi arrived in the boat they set sail for Saribas. They sailed for several weeks before they reached Semaruang. On seeing his daughter, Temenggong Kadir was full of joy. In appreciation for her safe arrival he held a makan selamat celebration to which he invited many people.
Some days afterward Temenggong Kadir went to Abang Gudam’s house to ask whether he intended to settle permanently in the Saribas district or return to Minangkabau. Abang Gudam said that he preferred to stay, if the condition of the country permitted it. On hearing this, Temenggong Kadir told Abang Gudam that he recalled his promise made to him regarding Dayang Chi, and as he had taken her from the Sultan’s harem, he would gladly approve of his marrying her. Abang Gudam happily consented to marry Dayang Chi.
After Abang Gudam and Dayang Chi were married, the Dayak chief, Manggi, and his followers moved up the Saribas River to settle at Supa in the Layar river having agreed to let the families of Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam and their friends farm padi at and around the Semaruang stream, near the mouth of the Saribas river.
Manggi and his people began to build a longhouse at Supa. While the construction work was going on, Manggi learned that a powerful tribe of people had already settled in the upper Rimbas, a right tributary of the Saribas. Being disturbed by this news, he was anxious to meet them. So he walked overland with his followers from Supa to Ulu Bakir and thence to Suri in the Rimbas till they reached a village at Debak.
On their arrival at Debak, Manggi met the people who called themselves Seru. They told him that they had lived in the Rimbas ever since their ancestors had moved eastward from the mouth of the Rejang River. According to them the people who were still living along the lower Rejang river at that time were the Rejang, Segalang and the Beliun peoples. The Seru also informed Manggi that a group of Dayaks were living below them in the Rimbas under a chief named Garai, the son of Gunggu. These Dayaks had migrated from Sebaru in West Kalimantan about a century ago, under their chiefs Jenua and Padang.
After he had met the Seru, Manggi was taken seriously ill with dysentery and subsequently died. He was buried at the Seru cemetery called Pendam Batu, near the present town of Debak. According to tradition, Gunggu, the father of Garai, was also buried in this same cemetery. After Manggi was buried at Pendam Batu, his friends returned sadly to Supa. On arrival, they did not complete the building of their longhouse; this building rotted away and the place is known to this day as the Tembawai Burok Rumah, “Site of the Decayed House”.
After Manggi’s death, Temenggong Kadir and his family moved up from Semaruang to settle at a village called Saribas, which was about one and half miles below the present town of Pusa. While there, many foreign traders came to the district to trade. These traders landed at Saribas village and the village became an important centre; subsequently the name of the whole river was changed from “Batang Layar” to “Batang Saribas”. “Saribas” had previously been the name of a small stream which ran through the middle of the village. While Temenggong Kadir was living at Saribas village, he gradually converted the Seru, the Bukitan and the Beliun peoples to Islam. These people had previously been captured, enslaved and subsequently sold to Temenggong Kadir and his followers by the Dayaks as they progressively occupied the district.
From Saribas village, Temenggong Kadir moved again and settled at Pusa at the confluence of the Rimbas and the main Saribas River. Abang Gudam and Dayang Chi, after the birth of their first son, Abang Drahman, moved from Semaruang to join Temenggong Kadir and his people at Pusa. Some time after this Temenggong Kadir died and was buried at Sapinang cemetery which is situated between Beladin and the present settlement of Samarang, near the mouth of the Saribas River.
After living for many years at Pusa, Abang Gudam died and was also buried at the Sapinang cemetery. Because of the burials of both Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam at this cemetery, this burial ground was, and still is, revered as the most sacred Malay cemetery in the district. Many Malays, especially those in direct descent from Temenggong Kadir and Abang Gudam go there periodically to pray for good fortune.
After Abang Gudam had died, his son Abang Drahman heard that the Paku River, another right tributary of the Saribas, was already inhabited by another group of people. He was anxious to meet them, and so one day he went up the Saribas river with some of his slaves. When he came to the mouth of the Paku River, he went up till he came to Nanga Lalau. At this place he noticed a bunch of isang leaves hung on the bank signifying that the place was owned by someone. Seeing this sign he paddled further up. When he reached the mouth of the Bangkit River, he noticed another bunch of isang leaves hung on the bank for the same reason. So he went further up. When he reached the mouth of the Rembai (also called Luban) stream he noticed yet another mark of the same kind. These leaves were hung to prevent strangers from occupying the area without permission. If anyone came and settled on the land which had been marked with the isang leaves, it would lead to war and the settler would be attacked and killed or driven out of the place without warning. From the mouth of the Rembai stream, Abang Drahman and his men went to Batu Embawang near Lubok Brutan and met the Iban chief, Rusak, in his padi field. When they met, Abang Drahman said that he had come to ask for approval for him and his followers to settle at the mouth of Buling stream, in order to guard the people of the Paku River from pirates who might come to attack the country. Hearing this request, Rusak asked Abang Drahman to stay at his house, to give him enough time to think about his application.
Three days later, Rusak told Abang Drahman that he had given careful thought to his request. He said that he had taken so much time because he was thinking about the future of his people’s descendants, who would need much land for their farming. He told Abang Drahman that he approved the making of a Malay settlement at Nanga Buling and he gave the following farming land to the Malays: on the Paku river from its mouth to Batu Embawang; from Batu Embawang to Dadak hill and then straight down to the Ulu Lalau stream and on the Lubok Nangka in the Buling stream; from Lubok Nangka along a boundary which ran towards a Mengeris Bejampang tree and on to Tapang Genong; and from this, along a boundary which ran from the centre of Tanjong Pedada right down to the main Saribas river. Rusak also told Abang Drahman that no Malay would be allowed to farm Dayak lands overgrown with bamboos, and no Dayaks were to farm Malay lands from Batu Embawang downwards to where the melai grass was growing on both banks of the Paku River. After they had settled this, Abang Drahman returned to Semaruang to lead his people to Nanga Buling. Of those who did not join him some went up the Rimbas and some up to Layar River and settled respectively at Nanga Undai and at Tanjong Belong.
Iban pioneers of the Paku and their Malay allies.
After the death of Tindin and Rusak, the generations living in the Paku up to the time of Saang and Busu were peaceful, since Entingi and his Bukitan followers had migrated to the Julau and Kanowit rivers. When Uyut “Bedilang Besi” (”Iron Hearth”) and Awang were chiefs of the lower and upper Paku respectively, they made a common set of rules for building longhouses:
1. All longhouses must be built on the bank of the main river, so that their inhabitants shall be able to bathe and draw drinking water easily from it;
2. No land owner shall stop the members of the community from building a longhouse on his land;
3. No member of the longhouse may plant fruit trees further than five fathoms from either side of the longhouse;
4. In case the longhouse is abolished due to old age, all fruit trees which have been planted in the compound will be owned by the planter and his descendants.
Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was one of the most powerful war leaders of the Saribas of his time. This was because his sons, nephews and sons-in-law were all brave warriors. Due to his victories in war, Uyut held a grand festival of gawai diri at Lubok Jalu above the mouth of the Lingit stream in the Anyut watershed. At this feast he made a Rhinoceros hornbill statue which was later burnt together with the Senunok longhouse, in 1944.
It was because of his importance that Bedilang changed the old tradition of drinking the holy wine for the Gawai Antu festival. He and his sons and sons-in-law refused to drink this wine, unless it was handed to them with timang jalong songs to praise their bravery in war. Thus it was from Bedilang’s request that the songs of timang jalong originated at this time, and have been sung at all Gawai Antu festivals to the present day.
From the days of Bedilang up to those of his great grandson who was named after him (Uyut), the Paku Iban were continually at war with the Sebuyau and the Balau Dayaks of the lower Batang Lupar river, as well as with the Seru of the Krian and Beliun of the Rejang.
When Jantan, a grandson of Awan, was a chief in the upper Paku river, he was not a formidable warrior, so he was worried about the safety of the upper Paku region, which was surrounded by a number of enemies, such as the Seru, the Beliun and also the Bukitan who had been driven out of Paku and had settled in the Julau and Kanowit districts. Because of these fears he went one day to spy out the enemy with one of his warriors named Sapitan. They walked along the range of hills at the source of the Puan and Paku streams and stayed the night at Bukit Buloh. The next day they walked again from Bukit Buloh along a range of hills situated between the Grenjang stream of the Krian and Sungai Randau towards Bukit Tangga Sadau and on to Bukit Medang. From here they walked to Bukit Lubang Remaung where they stayed another night.
That night Jantan slept just outside the mouth of a cave. In his sleep he dreamed he saw a woman who sat near him. She asked him where he had come from. Jantan told her that he and Sapitan were returning from Bukit Buloh to spy on the enemy. Hearing this, the women told him not to worry about the enemy.
“No enemy will ever come to Ulu Paku from this day onward,” she said. She told him that she was Bunsu Remaung (Tiger Goddess) who defended the Ulu Paku region from enemy raids.
To prove the truth of Jantan’s dream, it happened that after Linggir “Mali Lebu” had raided the Bukitan at Sugai in the Julau, the Katibas Iban under Gerinang and Matahari led a big force up the Julau to take revenge against the Pakus. But on the way their warriors suffered from a smallpox epidemic, which killed the majority of them and caused the survivors to retreat. Besides this, when the Rajah attacked Linggir “Mali Lebu” in the Paku twice in 1843 and 1849 his force only went up the Paku as far as Nanga Anyut, which was just below Jantan’s area.
Iban affairs in the Ulu Paku.
When Mawar Tuai was chief of Bangat and the lower Layar regions, Baling was an active warrior in the upper Skrang. In his wars he drove out the Skrang Bukitan to the Kanowit, which caused them to settle in various scattered places along the Ensiling and Mujok streams and in the Sugei of Bulau River. After Baling died his nephew Nyaru, son of Bakar, attacked the Ulu Paku Bukitans at Nanga Deran. This raid took place when Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was chief of the lower Paku and Anyut rivers. At this time the upper Paku watershed was leaderless after the death of Blaki who had been murdered by the Serus. Blaki’s sons, Bayang and Ugap, were still too young to lead the people. It was because of this that the decision of Awan of the Padeh to marry young Lada was promptly accepted by Bayang and Ugap and their relatives, including their uncle Uyut “Bedilang Besi”, who felt that the upper Paku region should be defended against attacks from the Serus of Krian. At this time “Bedilang Besi” had left them to stay with his wife Nangku, a daughter of chief Saang of the lower Paku and Anyut Rivers.
After he had defeated the Nanga Deran Bukitan, Nyaru migrated to the Paku with his son Libau. In this new area Nyaru and Libau were not leaders, until Libau’s son Kaya married Sawai a daughter of Lada and Awan. Sawai was an heiress of Busu, the father of Uyut “Bedilang Besi”. Nyaru’s sister Rabiah was the mother Mujah “Buah Raya”, who later migrated from the Paku to become famous chief of the Kanowit people.
After the death of Kaya, his eldest son became chief of the upper Paku. When he was old, Jantan directed that all his sons and daughters be separated from him and lead people to live in various longhouses along the banks of the upper Paku river, in the following order:
Libau “Buban” was to stay with Jantan at Nanga Samu. Saing was to build his longhouse at Jukun. Laus and her husband Lanchang were to live at Nanga Buong, and Kadir and Langan were to live at Danau.
At the death of Jantan, Libau “Buban” became the senior chief of the upper Paku river. He was not a man of war but was very straight forward in dealing with the affairs of his people. When Libau was old, Kadir and Langan separated from each other. Kadir went to live with his followers at Penom, while Danau was taken care of by his son Unchi. Langan built his longhouse at Meroh, near the source of the Paku river. At about this tune Libau’s sons Kaya and Ugat married. Kaya stayed in his father’s house while Ugat, went to live with his wife who was the only daughter of Langan at Meroh. Their sister Janta married Kadir, a son of Orang Kaya Linggang of the Rimbas. After her marriage, Janta left her father and went to live in the same longhouse as her uncle Saing, who had moved from Jukun to Batu Genting.
Ugat was a brave warrior who was hostile to the Brunei government, represented by Laksamana Amir who lived at the Malay village of Buling. Due to his hostility, he defied the Laksamana by slashing a mungut basket, which was used by Brunei tax collectors for collecting padi for the yearly tax from the Dayaks and Malays of the Paku River. The Laksamana was angry. Therefore Ugat planned a rebellion which was supported by all the upper Paku Iban. The Iban who had settled in the Anyut tributary did not support Ugat, since Linggir “Mali Lebu” and his families were very friendly with the Laksamana and his family. In order to start the revolt, Ugat led his warriors to attack the Beliun in the Sarikei River. By doing this he could at the same time stop the migrants from the Layar and Skrang rivers from migrating to the Awik, a tributary of the Krian and to Pakan a tributary of the Julau - the places which he and his people intended to occupy after their rebellion was over.
After the preparations for the war against Sarikei were completed, Ugat and his warriors went up to the Paku and Ketoh streams. From the Ketoh watershed they climbed the Medang range and went on to Nanga Lu’ong on the Krian River. They stayed the night at Nanga Luong. Next day they traveled up the Luong stream towards the Dangap stream and went down to its mouth. From here they travelled up the Budu stream to Nanga Dasi and then went up the Dasi stream to the Emperawan Pakap Mawi range. From there they traveled to the headwaters of the Awik River, where they stayed the second night. As the Awik watershed was close to the source of the Sarikei River, Ugat held his council of war here. In the conference he directed that they proceed early next day to the Sarikei river watershed where they would stay the third and final night before they assaulted the enemy. He also warned his warriors that they were not to make any noise when inside the enemy territory, as they must not be heard by the wandering Beliun and the Bukitan of the Julau. He was aware that if they were discovered by the Bukitans, the latter would spread the news to all the Beliuns of the Sarikei River. Above all, for the safety of his warriors, he arranged that the leading warriors Ramping, Doo, Ita and Japang should go as advance scouts a mile ahead of the others. They must not carry any baggage, but would be fully equipped with swords, spears and shields.
Next morning they left the place after the four leading warriors were gone. Even¬tually at noon they reached a Beliun village. On their way to the nearest house Ramping and Ita passed a banana plantation where they killed a woman who was clearing her garden. As they killed her they were seen by several people who raised the alarm all through the village, telling of their approach.
Ramping and Ita took the woman’s head to Ugat. Ugat was worried when they told him that while they were killing her they had been seen by enemies who had fled to the village to inform their people. Hearing this Ugat stopped his warriors from advancing further. He was afraid that if they risked invading the village, they would meet stiff resistance, as the enemy would be fully prepared to defend them¬selves. So he brought his warriors back to the Paku.
After he had failed to defeat the Beliun of Sarikei, Ugat decided once again to lead his warriors on the warpath. This time he decided to attack the Serus who had settled below the Embuas rapids in the lower Krian River. At this time none of the Iban who had migrated from the Rimbas had settled above the Embuas rapids. The only areas that had been settled by them were the Melupa tributary together with both banks of the middle reaches of the Krian River. Due to the small number of settlers, the Iban longhouse at Berangan Arang had twice been attacked by Bukitan from the Julau River.