About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pitem Mi indigenous clan of Sarawak

A long lost lone ranger Pitem Mi indigenous clan member has been discovered living in Luak Bay in Miri. This clan is believed to be extinct but a discovery of one person has brought hope of revival of this long lost clan.

A little bit of background to known indigenous clans in Sarawak. The Orang Ulu in Sarawak are made up of different indigenous clans which include Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Lun Bawang, Klemantan, Penan.

According to http://www.journeymalaysia.com/, Orang Ulu, means the "up-river dwellers" mainly living in Central Borneo , which accounts for 5.5% of the population.

The website states that the Penan, Kayan and Kenyah, live in the middle and upper reaches of and the Kelabit and Lun Bawang live in the highlands. Also, the Kayans live in the main territories in central Borneo . They are warlike , conservative and religious people. The Kayan are considered more skilled in handicraft then all other peoples and believed by early anthropologists to be the original people in Sarawak who adorned their bodies with tattoos.

Bu Bu is a Kayan, part of the Orang Ulu community.

Mack is Iban Bidayuh. Add is Iban.

The Ibans are great adventurers and take long sojourns across lands but prefer using the waterways to move about. Many Ibans as in other tribes claim to be closely related to certain animals in the jungle. For the Ibans it is the crocodile. Also it is believed that the Ribai, the River god sometimes appear as a crocodile but he may appear as a bear or a tiger, or the python or the mias (orangutan). Therefore the Ibans seldom kill these animals for fear that should he kill one which was really the Ribai , which in turn would cause him the ultimate fear of insanity.

The Bidayuh regard 'semangat' as very much influenced by a greater power. The power of courage and leadership was a beneficial tool for James Brooke. The Land Dayaks admired Brooke's semangat. Newly married couples never make a new home for themselves until much later when with child. The husband if staying with his spouse's family, will be expected to labour for her family. The head house has a hearth in the centre of the room where the head trophies are placed. The fire is always kept burning day and night. Ceremonies are often held and can be for anything, from dispelling illness in men and rice (their crop) to birth of child. The Dayaks believe that in all animate object including man and rice, there is a living principle called 'semangat' or 'semungi'. Since religious beliefs in old times were influenced by beliefs in the supernatural, it is therefore believed that sickness is caused by 'a temporary absence, and death by the total departure of this principal from the body.'

The Pitem Mi clan are people from the jungles who were restless with jungle life and first started farming. The Pitem Mi clan are mostly vegetarians and as such, did not hunt or fish from the rivers and jungles. They initially lived by the fruits and plants that the jungles bore. However, being curious and entrepreneurial, the people of the Pitem Mi went to the far reaches of the world and became city dwellers. The became merchants on merchant ships and spice traders.

The Pitem Mi clan were the darker skinned of all the clans in Sarawak. Despite their darker complexions, the were the sweet people of Sarawak, peace loving and always anti wars. As such the name Pitem Mi, which means dark sweet, like nice sweet Belgian or Swiss dark chocolate. In Malay, the term Hitam Hitam Manis is known to have been derived from the Pitem Mi indigenous people. Their religious believes were that all animals were to be respected and some even worshiped the cow, the elephant, the tiger and many other animals.

Their diet consisting of all types of fruit and vegetables but cooked a little spicier and richer using the natural oil from the palm and the natural churned butter made from cow milk.

They were also family oriented people and usually had extended families staying in a long house. However, not being hunters nor fishermen, the were slowly forced to move away from the jungles and became the first city dwellers. Their longhouses never had any skulls as trophies but unfortunately, some of our ancestors may be around somewhere in the jungles.

The Pitem Mi clan in Sarawak are fun going, open, generous and considerate people. They are mostly extinct now and very few are left.

There has been a rumour that a Pitem Mi city dweller has moved to Miri and living in Luak. He has a few names and known as Bear, Yogi or sometimes Tiger.

Will there be a revival of the Pitem Mi clan in Sarawak? It's possible as even one man can move a mountain and sail the seas, why not revive a nearly extinct indigenous clan.

Take care and be well.

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