• Short Summary

    THE REMOTE BARAM RIVER IN NORTHERN SARAWAK IS THE HOME OF SOME OF THE MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE IN MALAYSIA.

  • Description

    THE REMOTE BARAM RIVER IN NORTHERN SARAWAK IS THE HOME OF SOME OF THE MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE IN MALAYSIA. THESE ARE THE KENYAH AND KAYAN TRIBES, NOW UNITED UNDER ONE LEADER, THEIR PARAMOUNT CHIEF, TEMENGGONG OYONG LAWAI JAU. THE TRIBES, NUMBER SOME SEVENTEEN THOUSAND.

    THE BARAM RIVER RUNS FROM THE CENTRAL MOUNTAINS OF BORNEO THROUGH ROCKY GORGES TO THE SEA AND THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF THE COUNTRY HAS KEPT THESE FORMER HEAD-HUNTING PEOPLE ATTACHED FROM MODERN LIFE. NEVERTHELESS, GOVERNMENT OFFICERS, AND ROMAN CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES HAVE BROUGHT EDUCATION, MODERN HYGIENE AND AGRICULTURAL IDEAS TO THE RIVER AND THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE IS SLOWLY CHANGING.

    THE KENYAHS IN PARTICULAR ARE REGARDED AS THE MOST ARTISTIC OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF SARAWAK. THEY ARE PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS, THE FINEST DANCERS AND MUSICIANS IN SARAWAK AND THE BUILDERS OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPRESSIVE LONG HOUSES. THEIR SOCIAL SYSTEM IS STILL A FUEDAL ONE, THEIR CHIEFS RULE BY ARISTOCRATIC RIGHT AND A FORM OF SLAVERY STILL PERSISTS IN SOME PLACES.

    THE KENYAHS AND KAYANS HAVE PUT THEIR TRUST IN THEIR PARAMOUNT CHIEF IN ACCEPTING HIS ADVICE THAT THEY SHOULD SUPPORT MALAYSIA. THE TEMENGGONG NOW SITS IN THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT OF MALAYSIA AS A SENATOR FROM SARAWAK. OTHER LEADERS ARE MEMBERS OF LOCAL DISTRICT COUNCILS AND OF SARAWAK'S OWN STATE PARLIAMENT.

    KENYAHS AND KAYANS ARE EASILY DISTINGUISHED BY THEIR LARGE CAR SLITS. THE MEN OFTEN WEAR SHARK'S TEETH OR OTHER WARRIOR DEVICES IN THEIR CARS. THE WOMEN WEAR HEAVY BRASS RINGS AND THEIR ELONGATED EAR SLITS. AS A RESULT, THE WOMEN WALK WITH A PECULIAR GRACEFUL BUT CAUTIOUS CAIT AS ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENT COULD INSURE THEIR STRETCHED EAR LOBES.

    IN AND ARCA WHERE MOST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE OF SLIGHT BUILD, THE KENYAHS ARE OFTEN VERY SOLID. THE MEN HAVING STRONG CHESTS AND THICK LEGS. AS THEIR LIFE IS DOMINATED BY THE BARAM RIVER, THEY ARE GREAT BOATMEN AND HAVE TO NEGOTIATE DANGEROUS RAPIDS TO TRAVEL. THE OUT-BOARD MOTOR IS THE STATUS SYMBOL OF THE BARAM AS IT IS IN MOST PARTS OF SARAWAK.

    AS TRANSPORT IS SUCH A PROBLEM, THE PEOPLE OF THE BARAM ONLY GATHER ON RARE OCCASIONS DURING THE YEAR, ONE OF THESE IS THE REGATTA AT MARUDI WHERE THE BARAM BOATMEN COMPETE IN LONGBOAT RACES. IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE WOMEN TO VISIT THE SHOPS IN THE ONLY TOWN OF ANY SIZE ON THE BARAM AND TO ATTEND RELIGIOUS SERVICES CONDUCTED BY A KANYAH TRAINED BY AN AUSTRALIAN PROTESTANT MISSION GROUP. AT NIGHT, THERE IS A PARTY AT WHICH THE MAIN FEATURE IS THE DANCING, IN WHICH THE WAYS OF ANIMALS AND BIRDS ARE DEPICTED AND ALSO SOME OF THE GREAT LEGENDS OF THE PEOPLE'S WARRIOR PAST.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA3WJ89GZMPUZ73A912714FSGLC
    Media URN:
    VLVA3WJ89GZMPUZ73A912714FSGLC
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    27/05/1964
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:25:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment