Sunday, 20 July 2008

Early Iban Migration 7


From ancient times the Iban have valued old jars, such as kuna, irun, belanay, jabir, panding, alas, rangkang, mandoh, jumat and gemiang, But the most valuable are jars of the following type:

Type of jars = Value in $
Salang-alang = 150.00
Rusa Salang-alang = 200.00
Begeri = 200.00
Rusa Begeri = 200.00
Rusa Randok = 250.00
Betanda Begeri = 200.00
Betanda Bendar = 280.00
Menaga = 300.00 - 350.00
Ningka Menaga = 320.00 - 370.00
Ningka Bendar = 400.00
Ningka Betanda = 320.00
Sergiu = 600.00 - 900.00
Guchi = 700.00 - 1,000.00

The reason these jars were valued by the Iban was that in ancient times, if anyone was guilty of murder, adultery, theft, or owed a debt, he would become a slave of the person he had wronged, or was indebted to, if he could not repay his debt or the fine imposed on him. Before money was widely used, fines were paid in jars (cf. Sandin 1980a: 3-4). Later, after the abolition of slavery by Rajah Charles Brooke in the 1880s, when money was still very difficult to earn, all fines Imposed by the government could be settled by the surrender of a jar to the court to avoid imprisonment of which the Iban were much afraid.

In addition to this, no chief was recognized as influential or powerful who did not possess valuable jars. In the eyes of the Iban one enemy killed in war was equivalent in value to two captives or two rusa type jars. If a chief or a warrior of good family was able to obtain a head, one or more captives and one or more jars, he would be recognized as raja berani, meaning “rich and brave”. It was because of this that thousands of Iban lost their lives in foreign lands from 1868 to 1908, seeking to acquire jars. From 1909 to the 1920s the Iban stopped hunting for jars in foreign lands, but they continue to buy them, if any were brought by traders to their longhouses.

Trouble with the Mualang Dayak.

Shortly after the Sadok war was over, the young warriors of the Saribas turned their attention from warfare to trade, as the Tuan Muda had advised them to do. Saribas leader named Kedit of the Paku went to work wild rubber at Sadong. He was accompanied by Kalanang, Usin, Tumbing, Manggi and Sagoh apai Basok of the Paku. This took place in about 1868. From Simunjan, they went up the Kraang tributary, but were unable to find enough wild rubber there to be worth working. The types of wild rubber they were looking for were nyatu puteh, nyatu rian, beringin, sebang, semalam, kubal tusu, gubi, kerik and perapat. Finding few of these trees in the Kraang, they traveled towards the upper Bayan, in Kalimantan. The Bayan is a tributary of the Ketungau River and is occupied by Mualang Dayak. At Ulu Bayan they built a temporary hut where they could stay while working the forests. After they had settled in the hut, one morning Usin, Tumbing, Manggi and Sagoh went into the forest to look for wild rubber, while Kedit and Kalanang went along a different route. Chupong stayed behind to look after the hut. While Chupong was alone in the hut, several Mualang Dayak came and attacked him with spears. He was wounded slightly on the knee, but was able to run away and hide safely in the forest.

Usin and all those who had gone with him to look for wild rubber were murdered by the Mualangs while they ate lunch in a Mualang longhouse, some miles from their hut.

In the evening when Kedit and Kalanang arrived back at the hut, they called for Chupong. But he had hidden himself and did not reply. However, as they were looking for him they noticed small drops of blood on dead leaves near the hut. They became worried and looked for him further from the hut. As they did this Chupong emerged, and told them that they had been attacked by a number of hostile Mualang and wounded by a spear in his knee. Because of this trouble, they thought they should leave the place as soon as they could, but because of their friends’ absence, Kedit decided to wait that night to see if they would return to the hut. Next morning, finding that Usin and his friends had not returned, Kedit and Kalanang took the wounded Chupong back to their boat at the upper Kraang in order to return to the Saribas. Kedit thought it unlikely that he would find his lost friends, and decided they would have to prepare to fight the Mualang.

On their arrival home they immediately reported what had occurred to chiefs Linggir “Mali Lebu” and Luwi of the upper Paku. On receiving the news of the death of his people, Luwi called upon Linggir and his warriors to take revenge on the Mualang for the death of Usin, Manggi, Tumbing and Sagoh. Linggir promptly agreed to lead his fighters against the Mualang. While the force was at its langkau burong hut, awaiting favorable omens for the war, a message was received from Simanggang, which forbade them to continue with their proposed war expedition. This message displeased Linggir and his warriors. So Linggir led a delegation from the Paku to meet Minggat at the Awik in order to ask him to help them apply to the Rajah in Kuching for approval for a war against the Mualang. On their way to the Awik, they happened to meet Minggat shopping in Saratok. After he had learned that Linggir and other leaders of the Paku were on the way to visit his house, Minggat told them to stay the night at Saratok, as he was completely unprepared to receive such an important group of influential men at his house. So Linggir and his followers stayed that night in Saratok. Next morning with the tide Linggir and his friends went up to Awik. On arrival at Minggat’s longhouse landing place, they bathed and dressed, and then Munan, the eldest son of Minggat, came down to invite them up to the house. When the Pakus reached it, they found that the longhouse was already full of guests from the Sabelak, Sebetan, Melupa, Krian and the Awik itself.

That night after dinner, Minggat called all the people to his ruai to discuss with the Pakus the reason for this visit by nearly all their important leaders. Linggir told Minggat that he had come for a very important reason, and a sorrowful one, He said that four of his people (anak biak) under Kedit had recently been cruelly killed by the Mualang Dayaks, while exploring for wild rubber in that people’s country at the upper Bay an, a tributary of the Ketungau. He said that Kedit had reported the matter to him, and that he and others had decided that the murders must be promptly revenged. But when they prepared for war, a message was received from Simanggang forbidding their proposed expedition. Disturbed by this intervention, Linggir said that he and all the leaders of the Paku were very dis¬appointed as they felt it was senseless not to take revenge upon the enemy, who had willfully killed their people without any prior quarrel.

“For this reason,” said Linggir, “we have come to you so that you may help us to apply for approval from the Rajah to attack the Mualang.”

In his reply, Minggat said that he personally very much regretted the incident. He assured Linggir that it meant as much to him as if his own people of the Awik had been the victims.

“But this problem is difficult,” he continued. “If our people had been killed by the Mualang inside our own territory, then it would be easier for us to ask permission from the Rajah to attack them. But as they were killed inside Kalimantan, the Mualang could say that they had been attacked by our people and so were forced to defend themselves,” said Minggat.

He then concluded that he would agree to go to Kuching with Linggir, if he would ask the Rajah to bring the matter to a court of law, rather than by fighting to avenge the death of these men. Linggir said that he could not agree with Minggat. He insisted that blood had to be repaid in blood. Hearing this Minggat told his Paku friends that the Rajah would certainly not approve of a war against the Mualang. Early next morning, the Pakus left the Awik. When they came to the mouth of the Kalaka, they paddled directly to the Sarawak River to meet the Rajah in Kuching.

When Linggir met the Rajah, he was told that he must not take the law into his own hands. The Rajah said that he would settle the matter by negotiation with the Dutch government so that the Dutch would persuade the murderers of Linggir’s men to pay the pati nyawa compensation to the heirs of the deceased. Shortly after this, Linggir died of old age in the Paku in 1874. Some years after his death, the compensation paid by the Mualang for the death of his people was officially given to their heirs at Simanggang in the presence of various government chiefs, including Penghulu Garran who had succeeded his uncle Linggir as chief of the Paku Iban.

The Iban acquire jars in foreign land.

In about 1867 a man named Jamit apai Madu of the Paku was serving as a crew member onboard a Malay sailing ship. During one of his voyages he came to Makassar in the Celebes. From there he went to Java and later to Singapore where he met Insol, a son of OKP Nanang of the Padeh, who was then visiting Singapore.

After Kedit and his followers had successfully returned with a number of jars from Sabah, another young Paku leader named Jungan of Matop, went with his followers by sailing boat to Sabah for the same purpose. There Jugan’s followers bought a number of jars while Jungan and his cousins Ancheh and Busu bought a sergiu jar each. On their arrival home, other young men were surprised to hear of the sergiu jars which Jungan and his cousins had purchased.

Encouraged by Jungan’s successful voyage, another three young warriors proposed to accompany him on another trip to Sabah. They were Budin “Grasi”, Kandau, Ngindang “Kumpang Pali”, and with them went two young Malay chiefs, Abang Tek, a son of Laksamana Amir of Spaoh, and Abang Chek a son of Laksamana Omar of the Rimbas. Before they sailed to Sabah they went to the Kapuas to purchase a valuable guchi jar from the Dayaks of the upper Melawi River. This they purchased at Sintang in the Kapuas, and took it to Sabah to trade. At this time the Brooke Raj extended only as far northwest as the Mukah River in what is today the Third Division of Sarawak, when they arrived at a port called Putatan in Sabah territory they were kindly permitted by Menteri Babu, a Dusun trader, to stay at his house. He owned a lot of old jars which he exchanged for the trader’s guchi jarlet. After each of the crew members had obtained two jars, they returned home happily. The story of their arrival with these jars encouraged more Iban to engage in the same sort of trade in foreign countries.

Shortly after this, Penghulu Minggat of Awik bought a sailing boat from a Malay man and went to Sabah to purchase jars. On this voyage he was accompanied by Sauh apai Ingging, Dampa apai Daong, Gundi, Manang Nyara, Nyanggau anak Mail and many others. At Putatan Minggat sold the guchi jarlet which he had bought from a Melawi Malay trader to Menteri Babu. With money from the sale Minggat bought six valuable jars, while Sauh bought four; the rest also bought a number of jars, according to their individual means. Minggat’s successful trading venture to Sabah greatly interested the Kalaka and Saribas Iban. At this time all young men of the region were fond of talking about Sabah as a place for trading ventures.

Iban voyage to Banjermasin.

In about 1875, Penghulu Kedit, a son of Embit of the Paku, with Penghulu Mula, the son of Renggi, led a group of Iban rubber tappers on a voyage from the Saribas to many places in southeast Borneo, as far as Banjermasin. They went in two sailing boats which belonged to Penghulu Kedit and Penghulu Mula. When they called at Singkawang and Mentrado, the Chinese of these towns were scared of them due to the fact that these regions had been harassed several decades earlier by the Saribas chief, Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang”. From Mentrado they sailed to Pontianak, then to Sukadana and then to the town of Kayung. From Kayung they proceeded to Sampit and then sailed to Kota Warringin. From Kota Warringin they sailed for Banjermasin. On their arrival at this Sultanate, Penghulu Kedit and Penghulu Mula met Sultan Tengku Abdullah Yaksa and asked his permission to tap wild rubber in his country. The Sultan said that he could not permit them to stay long in his country. He ordered them to leave the following day in order that they would not frighten his subjects. At this time many people in Borneo were afraid of the Sarawak Iban because of their constant raids in the past.

As a result of this order by the Sultan, Kedit and Mula with their followers returned homeward. When they came to Sukadana town they asked for approval to work the wild rubber in that region from the local Rajah. The latter said he would approve their application provided they would agree to pay one tenth of the proceeds of the sale of their rubber to his government. Kedit and Mula to pay this tax and ordered their men to disembark. They stayed in a big hut (bansal) on the bank near their boats. A few days later when they had hired canoes from the local people they transported their luggage and working equipment to the forests upriver. They worked there for five months. After they had obtained a lot of rubber, they sold it to a towkay, who paid them forty dollars per pikul for it. This time they did not spend their money on jars, as they wished to take silver dollars back to their families at home.

After the “Lang Ngindang” trouble had been settled, a warrior named Linggi and his two sons Anji and Radin from Seruai, Saribas, went to Brunei. Linggi was the father-in-law of Aji who was killed during the fighting at Sungai Langit in 1858. Before they left Sarawak Linggi had openly declared that due to the death of Aji, he felt it was impossible for him to live in any part of the Brooke Raj, though he had, since the surrender at Sadok in 1861, been converted to Christianity by the European priests of the Anglican Mission. Some years after Linggi and his sons had settled in Brunei, Anji was commissioned by the Sultan to quell rebels in the upper Belait and Tutong rivers. This he did gladly, and due to his easy victory over the enemy he was given the rank of Penglima by the Sultan.

Some years later, Linggi and his family left Brunei for Sabah. After they had settled there Radin was commissioned by the Chartered Company Government to fight against rebels who lived around Kota Kinabalu (Jesselton) and along the Kinabatangan River. He fought these rebels with the help of Sarawak Iban who continually came to Sabah to look for old jars, which they acquired by working wild rubber and rattan. With, the support of his warlike Iban friends, Radin fought successfully against the rebels, so that the government of Sabah gave him the rank of Penglima. While Linggi and his family were in Sabah they abandoned Christianity and became Muslims. After they had been converted, Senabong and Timban, the sons of Aji, joined them. While there, Senabong and Timban told the Iban that they had come to Sabah in order to look for war charms which would make them invulnerable. After they had obtained them, they said that they would start a new rebellion in the Layar to revenge the death of their much lamented father, who had died while fighting against Brooke rule in 1858. As tradition has it, both these young men did indeed find charms and became invulnerable. But, unfortunately, one of them was caught and killed by a crocodile while swimming across the Sugut River at Lubok Sapi, chasing after a mouse deer; while the other died from “stomach ache”. It was said that it was due to Senabong and Timban’s deaths that the people of the upper Layar River failed in the late 1880s to renew their war against the Brooke Raj. On the other hand, Timban’s uncle, OKP Nanang apai Insol, was not rebellious. He succeeded his brother Aji as chief of the Padeh and middle Layar and was publicly praised by Sir Charles Brooke in the presence of the chiefs of the Second Division at Fort Alice, Simanggang, and promoted to the rank of Orang Kaya Pemancha in 1884. Ringkai, the successor of his cousin Bakir of Betong fort, was raised at the same time to the rank of Pengarah.

While Penglima Radin and the Iban in Sabah were busy fighting against native rebels for the Chartered Company’s government, the Rajah of Sarawak with the help of Orang Kaya Pemancha Nanang of Saribas, Penghulu Minggat of Awik and Jabu apai Umping of Bangat, Skrang, attacked Penghulu Ngumbang and his Ulu Ai followers in the Kedang range. After their defeat a considerable number of Ulu Ai Iban fled to the Emperan in Indonesian Borneo. Shortly after the Kedang war, in 1887, Penghulu Chulo “Tarang” of Ulu Krian died after a short illness.

In about 1888 Kalanang of the Paku built a sailing boat and took his followers to Sabah to buy jars. With him went Kalom, Rekan, Ibi, Chuwi, Gadin, Tangai, Mancha and Mandau. In Sabah all of them bought jars according to their means. But Kelanang and Mandau each bought a sergiu jar. When they landed at Brunei on their way home, they bought several pieces of brassware including a number of cannons. Later when they had reached Spaoh in the Paku, they fired these guns time after time, till they landed at their own house at Matop. The sound of these guns surprised everyone, who immediately came to Matop to see the jars and brassware they had bought in Sabah and Brunei. On the night of his arrival home with his sergiu jar, Mandau went to visit his girlfriend Sudau, daughter of a well-known warrior named Ambing “Merinsa” of Bangkit. When he told Sudau and her father that he had proved himself a man of some standing by buying a valuable jar, Sudau eloped with him inspite of his inferior status in Iban society.

Before Nakoda Kalanang and his followers had successfully returned from Sabah and Brunei, a well-known man named Lumpoh of Penom, with Entering and some others, decided to trade in Sabah. At this time Lumpoh had recently divorced his wife Chenggit, a daughter of Penghulu Minggat of Awik. In the course of the quarrel about the divorce, Minggat sent Lumpoh a lungga baut knife and a roll of raru creeper which meant that, if Lumpoh were really brave and adventurous, he should kill an enemy in battle or buy a valuable jar during a long voyage. Irritated by this insult, Lumpoh decide to leave, and accompanied by his friends, sailed to Sabah. When they came to Pulau Gaya near Jesselton, Lumpoh bought a sergiu jar, while his comrade, Entering bought two other valuable jars. After ail their friends had bought jars according to their respective means, Lumpoh decided to go home. On their way back to the Saribas, they discussed the celebration of a feast (gawai tajau) in honour of their jars. Lumpoh was very keen to ask a female bard named Indai Engkai of Igan to sing the chants at his feast so that the story of it would be heard by his former father-in-law, Penghulu Minggat. He did not want to invite any of the bards in Saribas and Kalaka to sing at this feast.

When they arrived home Lumpoh held a feast to honour these jars at Penghulu Mula’s house, at Nanga Nyalong, in the upper Paku. Shortly after Lumpoh’s Gawai Tajau festival was over, Penghulu Saang “Rumpang” of the lower Paku and Kadam of Teru, Rimbas, with their followers also sailed to Sabah for the same purpose of acquiring jars. On their arrival In Sabah, Rumpang helped all his followers first to purchase jars. After his crewmen had bought jars, there were no more for sale in that place. So they returned to Lawas near Brunei, as it was rumoured that here there were jars available for sale. When they came to Lawas, two jars were found, one of the menaga type and the other a rusa. Rumpang bought the former, but had not enough money to purchase the second. He was very disappointed and decided to auction his baku sireh (brass betel box), kuran (small brass container) and kachit (betel nut scissors) in order to buy the rusa jar. After he had bought both jars, he and his companions returned to the Saribas highly pleased.

After Rumpang and his crew had returned from Sabah, Insol, a son of Orang Kaya Pemancha Nanang of Padeh, with a number of young men from the Padeh and middle Layar, also went to Sabah. While there, they bought eighteen jars of various types. In the Layar no one other than Budin “Grasi” and Penghulu Insol took their people to buy jars in Sabah. The reason for this was that all the sons of chiefs in and around Betong at that time were fully employed as fortmen, which gave them the opportunity to buy a lot of jars from the Malay traders with the money they were paid.

After Insol had returned successfully from Sabah, Jungan of Matop in the Paku, again went to Sabah to buy jars. On this voyage he was accompanied by Ketit, Blaki, Ibi, Makop, Entri and Jugah. Jugah died in Sabah on this voyage. Because of this, Jungan and his companions returned to Sarawak and bought a number of betanda jars from the local Malay trader.

The Iban massacre at Trusan.

While Jungan and his followers were on their way home in 1884 they met a lot of Paku Iban under Utik and Gajong in two sailing boats headed north. Those who were in Utik’s boat were Gajong, Antau, Kalom, Ujan, Melebar, Maji and Kelali. At this time few families in Paku had saved more money than Utik’s family. Because of this, he and his brothers Nyanggau, Munan and Nuing were able to bring with them on this voyage the sum of nine hundred silver dollars. When they came to the Trusan River, they went up it and eventually tied up their boats at a Murut village landing stage. From there they went to the Murut house in order to buy jars. The Muruts appeared to be friendly and promised to help Utik and Gajong’s people get jars from their own people who lived further inland. Due to this good atmosphere, Utik and his friends were very happy; they waited for jars to be brought to them at the landing place.

It happened that one afternoon, Maji went out to look for jars in a neighboring Murut village. After talking with his hosts, he stayed the night in one of their homes. While Maji was staying in the Murut’s house that night, Ukit and Gajong and their respective followers who were in the boats asked the bard, Kelali, to sing renong samain (love songs) in order to make themselves happy. They did not sleep until early in the morning. At about 6 a.m. Kelali, who slept at the front part of the boat, woke up to wash his face. While he was doing this, he was suddenly shot by the Muruts. The unwary Kelali was killed and fell into the river. After this, the Muruts shot at the boats time and again. Seeing the danger, Ngadan jumped into the river to swim to the opposite bank. While swimming he was also shot and died in the water. Timbang also jumped into the river. He was shot in the buttocks. But he continued to swim slowly down river, and while he was swimming he received another wound on his leg from an enemy’s spear. While Timbang swam, he heard the repeated sounds of gun shots fired at the boats. At this moment Gajong, who was quick enough to equip himself with a knife, jumped to the bank to fight the enemy. He fought them very hard, and a number of the enemy were wounded and probably killed by his knife. But the enemy’s strength overpowered him, and he was caught, fastened with a rope and finally slain. Gajong was very strong and nearly invulnerable, which made it hard for the enemy to kill him quickly either with fists or knives. Utik left his boat later than the rest and fled into the jungle. The enemy struck at him as he passed them, but he parried their blows and managed to escape and save himself.

After some time Timbang, who had swam downriver, landed and slowly crept up the bank. He reached a mass of thick raka creepers which covered the huge trunk of a durian tree, and climbed up it. Later, as he sat hidden inside these thick creepers, he heard the shouts of Gajong and his opponents who were still fighting. According to Timbang’s story it took several hours for the enemy to slay Gajong. After Gajong had died, the enemy looked for Timbang downriver. While they were doing this, Timbang saw a huge hawk flying slowly above the tree top where he was sitting. He said that before then he had never seen such a huge bird.

Timbang who was suffering painfully from his wound, sat hidden quietly on the tree branch inside the thick creepers. While he sat there, he heard the enemy looking for him. They claimed they had found his trail of blood, but could not find the man who made it. After a while the enemy stopped their search and went away. That night Timbang left his hiding place quietly and went towards the enemy’s landing place, where he looked for a canoe he might use to go downriver. He found one, but without oars. So he paddled with his hands, till he reached a landing place belonging to the Tidong people. The Tidong are a race of indigenous people who had been recently converted to Islam. A Tidong family took pity on him and fed him and carefully tended his wounds. The next morning the Tidong transported him to the island of Labuan. On his arrival there, after he had reported the matter promptly to the British government, the surgeon operated and removed the bullets from his buttock. He was later treated by the government.

It happened that only a few days after Timbang had come to Labuan, Utik who had fled through the forest finally arrived at the Island. He too reported the massacre of his companions in the Trusan River to the government. After Timbang and Utik had been in Labuan for some days, H.H. the Rajah arrived there by yacht from Kuching. When he was told about the treacherous murder of his subjects by the Muruts at Trusan, he took Utik and Timbang back with him to Kuching. During the voyage, the Rajah told them that the Brunei Muruts of Trusan, under chiefs Ukong and Dayong, must be taught a lesson as soon as possible by means of a punitive expedition. The Rajah also accused the Brunei government of being unable to control its subjects who continually attacked small bands of Sarawak jungle-produce workers and traders.

Arriving in the Saribas, Timbang and Utik informed their chief, Penghulu Garran, of the incident. He promptly gathered all his best warriors to accompany him to ask for the Rajah’s permission to take revenge on the Trusan Muruts. But in his audience with the Rajah, the latter told Garran not to take the law into his own hands. The Rajah told him that he would consult the Brunei government officially about the matter. “If the Sultan does not take immediate action”, he said, “I will personally lead a punitive expedition from Sarawak to punish the Muruts and take over their country.” The Rajah asked Garran and his followers to return to the Paku. He also said that if he made war on the Muruts he would tell Pengarah Ringkai of Rantau Anak to ask them to join his force. From then until the expedition against the Trusan Muruts, negotiations with the Brunei government continued. When the Sultan and his officers would not condemn the murderers of the Saribas Iban, the Rajah annexed Trusan in 1885 without paying any money to the Sultanate of Brunei. Eventually, in May of 1900, the punitive expedition against the Muruts under Ukong and Dayong took place, and a considerable number of the enemies were killed. It was during this war that Penghulu Garran’s warrior Malina “Bujang Brani” changed his praise-name to “Balai Nyabong Nanga Trusan” due to his success in killing the enemy. He was attached to Pengarah Ringkai’s war boat. Penghulu Garran of Paku died in July, 1900, two months after this expedition.

Iban trading ventures to Malaya, Sumatra and Java.

While the Sarawak Government discussed the Iban massacre at Trusan with the Brunei Government in 1890, Penghulu Minggat of the Awik led many people to Singapore on the way to trade in Sumatra. At this time Minggat was already very old. He had been an extremely prosperous farmer in the Awik to which he had migrated, and he had become very rich in valuable jars and brassware, the type of property which was accumulated by rich Iban families in the 19th century. Besides being rich, Minggat was at this time one of the most senior Iban chiefs and war leaders in the Second Division.

When he met the Rajah in Kuching, the latter tried to persuade Minggat not to go so far a field because of his advanced age. But the old chief insisted that he must go in order to obtain a most valuable guchi jarlet as big as an egg plant, something no Iban had ever possessed. The Rajah asked him to change his mind, and said that if Minggat did not go, the Rajah would give him a diamond or a jar of the sort that he and his race valued so much. But Minggat told the Rajah again that he must lead his followers overseas. And as he had planned Minggat and his followers left Sarawak for Singapore by the S.S. Normanby in 1890. From Singapore the party sailed to Sumatra and landed at Panai. On his arrival Minggat paid a courtesy call on the ruler of the country, to whom he handed an official letter of introduction from the Rajah of Sarawak. For this meeting Minggat specially wore the official uniform given to him by the Rajah before he left.

At Panai Minggat and his followers bought jars of various types, including a considerable number of Bangka jars. While they were still trading Minggat fell ill and subsequently died of stomach ache. His name is remembered in song to this day:

Minggat apai Runai parai di Panai,
Seberai tiban Nanga Saan.

“Minggat the father of Runai died at Panai,
Opposite the mouth of the Saan” (River).

Nyanggau anak Mail of Awik, Kalaka.

After the death of his father, Munan suggested that the party proceed to the nearby town of Jambi. But his brother-in-law Nyanggau did not agree with this. He urged them all to return to Singapore quickly, to catch a steamer to Sabah. But Munan would not go, as he knew that their companions had not enough money for the voyage. This was why Munan suggested they work first at Jambi. Nyanggau could not be persuaded to stay any longer in Sumatra, so he returned alone to Singapore where he caught a steamer about to sail for Sabah.

When he arrived at Sandakan, Nyanggau met a number of Iban who had come from Paku and Rimbas to work there. He joined their company to go up the Kinabatangan River and tap gutta percha along the Kuamut tributary. Here, Baai anak Kadam and his friends from the Paku joined the group. After they had worked for some months in the Kuamut they sold their rubber in Sandakan where they received $200 each. After their rubber had been sold, Nyanggau suggested that they should cease working in the jungle. He thought that it would be more profitable to work for the European Tobacco Company than to tap wild rubber in the forest. All his friends agreed with this, so they asked him to meet the tobacco estate manager to ask for jobs. The manager agreed to engage the Iban at 35 cents a day. So they began to work on the estate with Nyanggau as mandor, or overseer.

At this time Nyanggau’s brother Ambu arrived in Sandakan. Shortly after his arrival he worked in another estate, where he earned $150 for one year’s work. After they had worked for the estate for over a year, Nyanggau and his friends including Ambu, Ngadan apai Simbah of Rapong, Gayong apai Gurang of Babu and Asan “Lang Rimba” of Nanga Gayau of the Rimbas went to Mindanao to purchase old jars. They sailed there in a boat which they had purchased for $150 from the Bajau. The voyage was very dangerous. They saw many Bajau and Illanun pirates hiding among the small islands on the way, waiting to rob trading vessels. On their arrival at Mindanao, the people were afraid when they told them that they were Sea Dayaks from Sarawak. So Nyanggau asked the police to escort him to meet the ruler of the country. At this meeting, Nyanggau told him that he and his friends had come from Sarawak hoping to purchase valuable jars. Hearing this, the ruler gave Nyanggau a permit to trade freely in his country. In addition to this, the ruler ordered Nyanggau to berth his sailing boat at his own wharf.

Eventually, after they had visited many places, Nyanggau bought eleven jars for himself. His brother Ambu and others such as Gayong of Babu, Ngadan of Rapong and Asan “Lang Rimba” of Nanga Gayau only bought one or two jars each. After he bought the jars, Nyanggau told his friends that he was running short of money, and urged them to return with him as soon as possible to Sabah. However, when his friends learned of his decision, a sharp argument arose, for they did not want to go back until they had bought jars with the money already in their hands. But Nyanggau insisted. After a long argument, Ambu, Ngadan and Gayong told Nyanggau to return to Sabah alone. They refused to let him use their sailing boat, so Nyanggau returned with his property to Sandakan in someone else’s boat. After Nyanggau had gone, Gayong apai Gurang bought six jars, Ngadan six, Asan “Lang Rimba” six and Ambu two. After they had bought these jars, they sailed back to Sabah and there met Nyanggau who was working in Sandakan. He had sold one of his jars to an Iban, as he was in need of money for expenses. He joined them again and they returned to Sarawak. Their arrival home with so many jars pleased their relatives and friends in the Awik and Sebetan rivers.

Shortly after he had returned successfully from Mindanao, Nyanggau again sold two jars to get money for a trip to Kotei in southeast Kalimantan. When he came to Kotei he and his friends tapped wild robber. At the sale of his rubber Nyanggau received $1500, which he kept to purchase jars. While he was thinking about buying jars a Malay friend of his chanced to meet him and told him that he would like to help him buy jars, if Nyanggau would trust him. They were close friends, so Nyanggau handed over all his money to this man without hesitation. The Malay went off and Nyanggau never saw him again. After being swindled by his friend, Nyanggau could not bring himself to start to tap rubber again in that country. So he returned to Sarawak, but in his shame he did not come home to his wife and children in the Sebetan. Instead he settled at the mouth of the Rejang, where he married a local woman from the region. While he was living in his new wife’s house, he planted padi with the members of her family. With the proceeds from farming, Nyanggau started to trade bubok (shrimps) and blachan (shrimp paste) with the Iban who lived in the lower Rejang. After he had earned a consider¬able amount of money from selling shrimps and shrimp paste, Nyanggau started to trade gongs and modem jars manufactured in Sarawak with the upriver Iban of the Rejang. He made a lot of profit from this trade. In 1902 he joined the “Cholera Expedition” against Bantin and died at Nanga Delok in the epidemic which killed several thousand people.

Iban trade to Kota Warringin and Mindanao.

Late in the 1890s a man named Passa traveled from Sekundong in the Paku to Kota Warringin near Sampit in the Sultanate of Banjermasin in Indonesian Borneo. His reason for going was to work wild rubber from the proceeds of which he intended to purchase a jar. After Passa had served Pengiran Ratu for several years, the latter knew him for a very trustworthy man. So he grew to like him very much. Eventually, in his fondness for Passa, the Pengiran presented to him five old jars in appreciation of his diligence, obedience and sincerity. Passa was very pleased to have been given these jars which were highly valued by the people of his race. Soon afterwards he told Pengiran Ratu that he wanted to take his jars back to his own country, but that he would come back again after he had blessed them with a gawai tajau festival according to Iban custom. So Passa left Kota Warringin for Sarawak. When he reached home, his relatives and friends were very pleased to see the number of jars that he had brought back with him. In their joy, when Passa told them and Malina apai Kampong, the headman, of his wish to celebrate a gawai tajau in honour of his jars, they promptly agreed. So the feast was held and people from many longhouses were invited to attend.

Shortly after the feast was over, Passa went to Kota Warringin again, keeping his promise to Pengiran Ratu. This time he was accompanied by a man named Libu “Badilang” from the same longhouse. When they came to Kota Warringin, they looked very hard for jars. But they could find no others apart from one which Libu bought. After he had bought this jar, he and Passa returned to Sarawak. About a year after he had returned from his second trip to Kota Warringin, Passa went there once more. On this trip he was accompanied by Maling apai Sawat, Rambuyan, Salau, Sujang, Begali, Encharang apai Libau, Ansa apai Jaang, Ulau “Gurang” apai Jabo, Junau and Muyu, all from Paku. On the way to Kota Warringin and while they were there, these Iban worked wild rubber. They all earned money, but only Muyu was fortunate enough to be able to buy two jars, while Salau bought one. Due to their failure to find jars Ulau left the party and returned to Sarawak. From Kuching he sailed in a schooner to Lawas near Brunei, seeking jars. His friends Sujang and Begali also returned and from Kuching they sailed to Sabah. From there they traveled northward until they came to Mindanao in the Philippines. Since then they were never seen in Sarawak again.

Libu “Badilang” of Sekundong, Paku.

After Passa and Libu had returned from Kota Warringin, Libu led his followers from the lower Paku to Singapore. From Singapore Libu and his followers went to Pahang where they worked as casual laborers for the Government. At Pahang Libu met Geraman, the brother of Penghulu Saang “Rumpang” of Sungai Pelandok, Paku, who was a Museum Collector there. Libu joined Geraman who often went with Ulok, a famous collector for the Museum, to shoot birds and monkeys for specimens in the forests of Pahang near Kuala Temerling. After Geraman and Libu had worked for four and two years respectively under Ulok, they returned to Sarawak. Geraman brought home with him even more money than Libu, who had saved one hundred Straits dollars.

Shortly after his return from Malaya Libu joined Rentap of Beduru and Demong, the son of Ambing “Merinsa” of Bangkit, and the three left to tap wild rubber in Limbang. But when they came to Limbang the Sarawak Government asked them to join a punitive expedition against the Kayans of the Upper Limbang. They did so, and during the fighting Libu and Demong each killed an enemy. Due to their success, Libu was given the praise name of “Badilang” and Demong that of “Matahari”. When “Badilang” later became headman of the Sekundong longhouse, the people prospered. Due to his diplomacy and justice in dealing with his people’s affairs, “Badilang” became one of the best-known Paku headmen of his time. During the government expedition against Bantin of the Ulu Ai, he was appointed one of the leading warriors under Penghulu Saang “Rumpang” of the lower Paku.

Iban trade to Malaya, Sumatra and Sabah.

While Passa and his associates were trading at and around Kota Warringin, seventy-four people from the Paku, Rimbas, Krian, Sabelak, Layar and Undup under Nyaru anak Munji of Paku, sailed to Singapore, and thence to Jambi in Sumatra, in order to work wild rubber. When they arrived at Jambi, they found very little rubber to work. So they crossed the Straits of Malacca to the Malay Peninsula to work rubber around Kuala Lumpur, then the capital city of the State of Selangor. But when they got to Kuala Lumpur, they discovered that the Selangor Government had forbidden the tapping of forest trees in the State.

Before they could find work to do, the Federal Government invited them to join the government forces being sent against the rebels in Pahang. After the rebels had been defeated, the Iban divided themselves into three groups. One group went to work wild rubber at Bidor, Sungkai, Ipoh and Tanjong Malim. The second group went with Nyaru and Entingi apai Brenai to look for rubber in Trengganu, and the third group followed Malina “Ensoh” to work in Perak. Out of all these, the group under Malina “Ensoh” earned the most money. After these people had arrived home, Legam anak Lemada of Jukun in the Paku led his followers to Sabah to work wild semalam rubber near Sandakan. When they sold this rubber they received a fair amount of money which they brought home with them.

After Legam and his party had returned from Sabah, Mujah anak Mambang of Nanga Buong in the Paku and his followers left home to go to Perak in Malaya. But when they were about to set sail for Singapore from Kuching, they were stopped by the government, as the authorities at that time only permitted Iban to work in the State of Sarawak. Not discouraged by this, Mujah led his followers to the north, where they intercepted the steamship which plied between Singapore and Labuan. After they had stayed two days in Singapore they paddled a boat across the Johore Straits to Malaya. On their arrival, they found the government had forbidden the tapping of wild rubber because this was destroying the forest trees. So they returned to Singapore where they met many Iban who had come from Sarawak under Penghulu Saang “Rumpang” and Nyaru anak Munji.

From Singapore Mujah’s party joined a party of Iban under Kok, following another party of Iban who had gone to Langkat in Sumatra under Geraman, the younger brother of Penghulu Saang of Paku. After they met Geraman and his followers at Langkat, Geraman suggested that they sail to Temiang with him in a boat he had made himself. They did so, and then went up the river till they reached its first tributary. At this time Acheh was at the height of its rebellion against the Dutch. The Iban knew this, but they were anxious to work rubber and therefore ignored the danger. Later, when the followers of Penghulu Saang, Nyaru and Geraman joined with those who had gone to Temiang with Mujah and Kok, there were seventy-six people from the Second Division in their group.

After they had been working for five months in the Temiang three of them were murdered and one wounded by Acheh rebels. Those who were killed were Asut of Undup, Apai Sumping and Atar both of Sabelak. Unjil from Undai in the Rimbas was seriously wounded. When Penghulu Saang and the other leaders saw this, they ordered their men to make wooden shields for war. When they had finished their preparations for revenge against the Achehs, Saang called for a final discussion. It became clear that the minority of the leaders thought it was very risky for seventy-two of them to attack hundreds of thousands of the enemy. So these leaders ordered all of them to return at once to Singapore, living much of their rubber at many places along the banks of the Temiang River. Those who refused to return home were Sana, Pasai, Entipan, Merupi, Sunggom, Antin and Lidom. They were all from Danggat’s longhouse at Getah on the Anyut, a tributary of the Paku River. They never came home, except for Entipan shortly before the Second World War, but moved to Kelantan in Malaya in 1941. It was because of these people’s failure to return home, that Danggat’s large longhouse in the Anyut eventually ceased to exist. Its inhabitants moved to join the people of other longhouses.

In Singapore, Penghulu Saang and his party met a Paku man named Manang Bakak who was with his friends on their way to look for work in Malaya. After he had been told of the trouble in the Temiang in Sumatra, and also of the many tons of rubber left by the Iban in the jungle there, Bakak and two of his men decided to go there to collect the rubber and sell it for themselves.

When Saang and his party left Singapore for Sarawak, Bakak and his companions departed for Temiang in Sumatra. As they went by canoe up the Temiang River, they passed many hostile groups of armed men gathered on the gravel river beds. Finally, Bakak and his friends reached the place where rubber had been left by Saang and his followers. There Bakak and his friends loaded as much rubber as their boat would hold. After this, Bakak decided that one of his friends was to sit in the bow and the other in the stem of the boat. But in view of the danger which they might encounter on their way down the river, the two men would not obey Bakak’s instruction. They were not very brave and neither one dared sit in the bow or the stern of the boat.

Seeing his friends’ lack of courage Bakak became worried so he asked them to give him a towel. When they did, he recited into it a spell called ilmu bangkai, which can cause the enemy to fall into a very deep sleep. Later he put this towel beneath a stone under water in the river. This done, Bakak ordered his friends to paddle their boat quietly down the river with himself paddling at the centre. They passed several groups of the enemy sitting on the huge dry gravel beds of the river, but the enemy drew back and did not harm them. After passing all danger, Bakak and his companions shouted loudly as if to tell the enemy that they had escaped from their ambush. Hearing this, the enemy fired at them with shot guns but no bullet hit them, Bakak and his companions managed, to reach the town next morning where they sold their rubber.

Mat Salleh’s Rebellion in Sabah.

While many Iban went to work wild rubber and jungle produce in. Malaya, South Borneo and Sumatra, many others went to Sabah for the same purpose, hoping to acquire valuable jars. In Sabah, after Penglima Anji and his brother Penglima Radin had grown old, a certain influential half-Bajau, half-Suluk chief named Mat Sslleh led many of the Sabahans in a rebellion against the government. At the start of this rebellion, Nakoda Usang of Sabelak sailed to Sabah and opened a trading business at Papar. He was shortly afterwards followed by Nakoda Bali also from the Sabelak, Kalaka.

When Nakoda Usang was running his business at Papar, he was commissioned by the Chartered Company Government to attack Mat Salleh and his followers who had fortified themselves at Sayap-Sayap. This fortress was built on a high, steep hill difficult to attack from the low ground. There was no high ground near it from which this fort could be attacked with guns or cannons. When they were constructing the fort, Mat Salleh and his followers built its walls of huge boulders and logs of wood, to make it impenetrable even to cannon balls. In addition they gathered a lot of wood with which to crush the enemy if they ventured to climb the steep hill to attack the stockade.

During the preparations for the expedition, Usang had summoned the Iban who had come to Sabah from the Batang Lupar and the Rejang to join him. And with these people he and Nakoda Bali of the Sabelak, attacked Mat Salleh at Sayap-Sayap several times, but could not harm him, nor could they approach his stockade on the fortified summit of the hill.