19

- - _ .._ - _ .
APTER 2
DAY H COMMUNITY IN GENERAL
Dayak Identity
The "Dayaks" are considered to be the original
- - "nitants of Borneo. Origi nally, the Dutch Authority
- =1donesia referred aLL the indigenous pagans of
=:r- eo as "Dayaks" when Indonesia was still under
.-..::: ll le of the Dutch, as did the first English arrivals
- Sarawak in 1840s. The word "Dayaks" according
~ : ' alimant an Review" Engli sh Version Volume II /
ember 1999, is the coLLective name for around
Bazaar
. -: et hno linguistic-groups of the Borneo Island.
-=et hnic groups such as the Iban, Kayan, Kenyah,
· - ayan, Maanyan, Ngajuk, Uud Danum, Bidayuh,
= - _ang and Pompang are such some of them that
_ _ ist . According toAnthropolcqy, Ethnography and
. ; l ist ie experts, their identity is based on their
:: - -.arit ies in physical appearance, cultural elements,
. sto ary law and death rituaL. However, these tribal
:..c: . le differin language, culture, art forms, clothing,
-: . si g architecture and social organization.
All Dayak group s, however, have some
' . ' : 3mental features in common; they live along
"':-5, mountain-tops and highlands. They practise
' : ~ : : " shifting cultivatiori and coLLect jungle produce.
-" , 's c mmon economic base combined with thi s
_ : ::: _ uniform ecosystemwithin which most Dayaks
: :0 a long way to explain the similarities in
. Gate
_': ;on conceptions and worldview of the D ~ y a k
people, Dayak ancient and traditional religion is now
receding before the onslaught of Christian
proselytizing in particular.
In Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia, there is a Dayak
King. He is Si nga Bansa who is the sixth rulerto sit on
the Hulu Ai k throne of Krio Dayak at Menyumbung
Village, Sandal District, Ketapang Regency. Based on
"Kalimantan Review" English Version Volume II /
November 1999 (P.31- 32), the Hulu Aik Kingdom was
established around the year 1700 at Krio River. Many
Dayak themselves in Kalimantan Barat do not know
that they have a Dayak King. Nevertheless, Raja Singa
Bansa is the symbol ofthe marginalization ofthe Dayak
people in Kalimantan Indonesia.
II) Origin of Dayak Bidayuh
During the Brooke Regime and Colonial Era,
Dayak Bidayuh in Sarawak was known as "Land Dayak"
meaning "the Dayak of the hill country". However,
following the passing of the Interpretation
(Amendment) Bill 2002 at the State Legislative
Assemb ly in Kuch ing on 6-5-2002, the Bidayuh
community is no longer referred as "Land Dayak" ­
the terminology given by the Brooke and Colonial
administrations in the olden days.
It was believed that the Bidayuhs were one of
•• • History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
20
the original people of Borneo and they most probably
settle d in Sarawa k"before any ot her tri bes now found
among them" (Staal, P.55, 1%0 ). They were the
princi pal inhabitants ofthe originalterritory acqui red
byJames Brooke (Ling Rot h, 1869). These statements
of the writers indicated that the Dayak Bidayuhs were
the people believed to be among th e earliest
inhabitant s of Borneo. Their history, some of which is
in oraltradition is not recorded. Little is reliably known
about their earliest history. It was most probably that
the earli est human occupants reached Borneo Island
from the mainland Asia during the later stages of the
l' -':L:
Pleistocene when the sea level was low enough to
forma land bridge. However, when the sea level rose
to near its present level, these early sett lers were
effectivelyisolated from the rest of Asia (Fi sher, 1966).
Through isolation and time, those that settled in a
region at the west ern tip of Borneo evolved into a
unique cult ural and lingui stictype. However, geography
and recent history have separated these cult urally and
linguistlcally similar people into t wo sovereign
territories. In Sarawak, where a smaller percentage
lives, th eir homeland is to be found mainly in
hinterland of t he Kuching and Samarahan Divi sions
tJ.
ft
.""..· .. r(I1Ulu .
.iV

•nOJl1n :e"
?:.dn.Hu k,_

40

....
I. d ot r
1Ian= For

Old Map of Borneo showing the location of Sarawak.
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian • • •
21
·- to
)se
~ r e
_: 0).
: a
-: a
"]hy
~ n d
- ~ : g n
-: 3ge
in
::" .ins
· ·:h are adjacent to Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia
- ~ r e the majority of them reside.
:..:: ) Legends of the Bidayuh Origin
According to an article "The First Land Dayak"
' :-en by Dr. John Hewit, former Curator of Sarawak
.seurn 1905 -190 8, originally there were no human
_7'1g5 in Borneo Island. Deer, pigs and beasts of
:. 'ous kinds were plenty. Fish andfowls were abundant
.; .: there were no human beings. The first man who
:: t he first Land Dayak called Tenabi lived at the
: : of Bukit Suit and Baru and he married to Kitupong
-: died during childbirth. A strange incident
: : ened when Tenabi conceived a child in the calf
. nis leg. Upon maturity, his calf burst, a female
z: t was born. When she became a woman, Tenabi
i. ried her. The couple had three chil. dren, one girl
ed Timuyau, two sons named Padat and Tiruah.
When Padat and Tiruah grew up, they moved
f their family home and settled at Sinyang and
: : Hills. Both of them got married and had children .
: .e t o thievery of Padat's son for stealing sugarcane
_- Tiruah's garden and he was beheaded at the
s: set by Tiruah's son. Padat and his family moved
Sikanqan where he launched an attack on Tiruah.
_3h and his family moved out and settled at
sbut on the right branch of Sarawak River.
Tiruah had a son called Sikaya who married to
- ~ ale spirit called Sekama at Mount Penrissen.
t he marriage, they had two children, one boy
: one girl. Sikaya and Sekama had the following
:0 - : thiidren.­
1. ) Bena 6. ) Bikirup
z. ) Bungu 7. ) Baang
3. ) Bibawang 8.) Bratak
4.) Biatah 9. ) Peninjau
5.) Singai 10. ) Puruh.
Various accounts of their origin have been
interpreted by the Bidayuh them selve s. Some
Bidayuhs claimed that they were the descendants of
the mythical characters of the Malay origin such as
Datu Patio The Bidayuhs from Kampung Engkeroh,
Serian claimed that they were the off-springs of the
spirit from Lobang Lubok Bayor. The Bidayuh from
Kampung Mentu Tapuh in Serian believed that their
ancestors were human beings who came out from a
hole in the ground along Sungai Mentu. Some
Bidayuhs even claimed that they descended from the
tree trunk, fish and animals. These are all legends
and there is no evidence to prove their claims.
IV) Dayak Bidayuh Settlements
(1) Settlement in Kalimantan Barat
In the olden days, according to a Bidayuh
legend, Bidayuh (Land Dayaks) in Borneo Island
belonged to one tribe . However, with the Dutch
controlling Kalimantan Indonesia and Brunei/British
on the Sarawak side, the Bidayuhs were artificially
separated by political boundaries. At the later stage,
with the Indonesians getting independence on .
17-8-1945 and with the formation of Malaysia on
16-9-1963, the political severance between the two
areas became more and more pronounced. Today,
when the Indonesian Bidayuhs and the Malaysian
Bidayuhs do meet at the border areas, they talk to
.,. History of Bidayuli in Serian •••
22
each other and do some pct ty/b art e 'c'J dill g iii a
fri endly manner. They realize that t h ~ y "He liviilg in
t wo separat e and independent nations. Hence, there
is a growing diverqence in political divergence, in
political orientation, socializat ior and <' '' en cult ural
outlook.
In Ka limant an Barat, Indonesia, La nd Dayaks
(Bidayuhs) are found extensively in t he lower basin
of the I<epuas River, particularly upstream of Sanggau,
along the Sekayam Ri ver, northwards into Kuching/
Samara han Di visions of Sarawak. In the lower reaches
of the Kep uas, extending northwards t o t he western
most part of Sarawak and sout hward to Ketapang
and t o t he coast of Java Sea, are to Selako/Rara
(Selaka u/ La ra) t ribe wh o formerly lived along a ri ver
kn own as Sungai Selakau between Sambas and
Sengkawa ng in Ka limant an Barat, Indonesia.
However, a long time ago the Bidayuh lived in
the coastal areas of Wes te rn Ka limanta n, but were
continuously being attacked and ta ke n as slaves by
t he pirat es. Wh en t hey became too old to work, or
no longer wanted, they were simp ly put ashore and
abandoned. Those who avoided being capt ured
migrat ed further and further inland and t ookt o more
strategic and defensible positions on the t ops of the
hills, mountains and even in the caves, where they
could push down boulders on t heir enemies. The
dissemination of ot her reli gions was also one of t he
reasons which forced the Land Dayaks (Bidayuh) to
move further inland. In t he past, t he Land Dayaks
who embraced Islam were considered as Malays or
Mu slims. Th ose Land Dayaks (Bidayuh) who refused
t o adhere t o Islam religion moved t o the highland
and interi or land.
. • . llistor, at' Bitla vuh itt Ser itl" • ..
(2) Mig ration/Sett lement in Sarawak
There was no boundary line bet ween Sarawak
and Ka limanta n Ba rat Indonesia in the olden days as
indicat ed in the old map printed in London in 1870
on page 23. Hence, it was incorrect to say that all
Bi dayuhs st aying in Sarawak were immigra nts from
I<alimant an Barat. Since t here was no border-line,
t he Bidayuhs might have been staying in Sarawak
for ages already before Indonesia was colonized by
the Dutch and Sarawak was under the rule of Sultan
of Brunet / t he Brooke authority. However, it could
not be over- ruled tha t t here were Land Dayaks
(Bidayuhs) who migrated from Kalimantan Barat,
In donesia from t he olden days right up t o the
formation of Ma laysia in 1963. When Sarawak was
still under t he rule of Brunei, many Bidayuhs died
because they were either being att acked by Skrang
raiders from Simanggang (Sri Aman Di vision) or
revelled against the inhuman treatments by the Brunei
aut hority. However, they died not only for the sake
of t heir community but alsofor the sake of defending
Sarawak against Brunei rule. Th at was how the Land
Dayaks (Bidayuhs) lived before Sir James Brooke
became t he first White Rajah in Sarawak in 1841.
Since t hen, he gradually bro ught peace t o Sarawak,
the Land Dayaks multiplied tremendously and hence,
the popul at ion increased. Owing to th e general
barrenness of hill-farming land and the shortage of
land due to increase of population, they are forced
t o consider moving back towards the lowland and
coast al areas in order to obtain better rice harvests
and ot her cash crops by cultivati ng on t he low-lying
land.
23

--rawak
: 3YSas
1870
: at all
: 5 from
=2r -li ne,
Sarawak
- ' zed by
:= Sultan
it could
Dayaks
Barat, .
t o th e
vak was
uhs died
:y Skrang
ision) or
:he Brunei
- t he sake
jefending
t he Land
ss Brooke
in 1841.
I Sarawak,
md hence,
e general
iortaqe of
are forced
vland and
e harvest s
: low-lying
'? old map of Borneo printed in London in 1870 showed that there was no border-line between Sarawak, Malaysia
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
.,;.
-.... .....

. ... .... ....
. \ .; J.
-.....
.-.
"

"
-- ,
.. ..
; -­
'-:;a, '­.

.I
I

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.._. ./.
- ...... ., ..
'.- . :,", : &,. ' , '
...... .­

"•. . ' .: - , : t:
I>:; HI'! o.

, , , History of Bidayuh in Serian •• ,
24
(3) An cestral Homes
The Bidayuh is on e of the ind igen oUs
communities in Sarawak and they were among the
earli est people to inhabit in Sarawak. During the
Brooke's and the colonial era, they were known as
the Land Dayak meaning the people of the hill
country. Today, the Land Dayak prefer to be known
as Bidayuh. In their dialect, "Bi" means "people"
and "Dayuh" means, "Land". Hence" Bidayuh" means
"people of the land". Their original home is believed
to be around the lower basin of Kepuas River,
upstream Sanggau River and Sekayam River in
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia. However, most of the
Bidayuhs in Sarawak believed that Sung kung , Bugau
and Sungai Selakau were their three major ancestors'
homes, all situated in Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
Sung kung is situated in Seluas, near to Gunung Niyut
which is 1,701 metres above the sea level. Bugau,
which is an old Bidayuh settlement, is located not
far from Kampung Mongkos in.Serian. Gajing Mountain
is the homeland .of the Selako (Selakau) and it is
situated at the source of Sela kau River near
Singkawang. According to a legend, most Bidayuhs
from Indonesia came to Sarawak about 20 generations
before the Karakatao eruption on 27-8-1883. Based
on one generation of 25 years, the Bidayuhs have
been staying in Sarawak for more than 600 years
since 1383. It is evident that the close relationship
still exists between the Bidayuh people residing on
both sides of Sarawak/Kalimantan border. According
to Rev. Father J. Staal, the Sung kung Dayaks were
fierce and warlike. Many of them were the descendents
of a China-man who married with a couple of Dayak
women took refuge on the uninhabited mountains.
He hadthe surname known as "Lim" and, hence, many
• • • History of Bidayub in Serian '"
of the Sungkung people are Lirns ! (Staa l, P.56, 19/,0)
There is a descendent of Lim in Penrissen area. He is
Ketua Kaum Simak ak Baeh of Kampung Banggau,
Penrissen who confirmed that he is one of the many
descendents of the Lims in Sarawa k when I
interviewed him at Kampung Banggau on 3-2-2001.
4) ATrip to Sungkung by Bishop Rev. Peter H.H.
Howes
On 20-7-1953, the Right Rev. Peter Henry
Herbert Howes who was the n the Assist ant Bi shop of
Angli can Chu rch and 5 others made a trip from
Pangkalan Ampat, Padawan to Sungkung which was
60 miles away. They spent a night at Kampung Kiding.
Early next morning, they departed, pausing for a
moment at Kampung Sapit and then crossing over
the border to Kampung Goon in Kalimantan Barat,
Indonesia. From Goon , the path skirted the slopes of
Baji Mountai n and then onto Temau Mountain until
they reached Kampung Tuaan at 5.00 p.m. After
spending a night at the Kampung , they left Tuaan at
4.00 a.m. the next early morning until they arrived
at Kumba River where they had their breakfast. After
crossing the river and late that afternoon, they
reached the first seven Kampungs of Sung kung at
about 2,000 feet above the sea level. Each Kampung
had its own headman and there was a space of about
three to four hundred yards between each cluster of
dwellings. There were no long houses except individual
houses. In the village, there was "Arud Trauh" - a
large rock formation alleged to be Trauh's boat (Howes
p.247). sungkung had no heirlooms to showto Peter
H.H.Howes and his party. According to the people
there, in 1935, a party of Dutch visitors had been
relieved of their heads and.the Dutch authority had
25
: its soldiers to show its displeasure. The old
; ~ e of Sungkung was burnt to the ground and all
; : au.
.. .ooms had perished in the raid (Howes p.248).
- ~ n y
'nformat ion, Pet er Howes came to Sarawak in
-': ' I
_ : - after his ordination in Durham, England and he
. : )1 .
ss appointed as Archdeacon of Sarawakand Brunei
. :7 0s. He was born on 20-3-1911, retired in 1985
.H.
- Cl assed away in United Kingdom on 12-4-2003
--:: age of 92 after a short illness.
- ':il ry
In the olden days, it took 5 days for the
-: :' of
= ung people to go to the nearest shopping centre
· -om
- Sanqqau in Kalimantan Barat whereas they could
- o':as
::' : iI Pangkalan Ampat in Padawan or Pangkalan
:' :'1 g.
. :.: = 19 in Ulu Bau withi n a period of 2 days. From
' : r a
- :l kung, there was a path leading to Plaman
: . er
: gus Bering via Tu?an. It took about 12 hours on
:: :: -at.
: : 0 of
_ til
. ·ter
:. - at
- .l ed
-rter
~ l e y
- : at
- : . ng
.: Jut
' :' of
' :'Jal
. - a
' : '!es
=:ter
- : ole
::en
-ad
Photo of Bishop Peter
Henry Herbert Howes
taken in October 1980.
foot to complete the journey. From Plaman Trin ggus
Bering, it took about 8 hours to reach Kampung
Tringgu s and one and half hours by boat to Pang kalan
Tebang. However, today, one can drive avehicle from
Pangkalan Tebang t o Kampung Tringgus by road
within 15 minutes only.
(5) First Bidayuh SettLements in Sarawak
When the Bidayuh first came to Sarawak, they
built longhouses and settled in the regions around
Gunung Penri ssen especially at Rabak Mikabuh in
Kuching Distri ct, at Gunung Serembu, Gunung Singai
and Bung Bratak in Bau District. They also stayed
ar ound th e present Kampung Gahat Ma wang
(Semabang), Kam pung Mawang Taup and Kampu ng
. Kujang Mawang (formerly known as Tembawang Rutoi)
Kampung SU!1.9,kung, KaLimantan Barat, Indonesia. Photo taken in JuLy 1953
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••

Locality Map of Serian District (Source from Pengarah Pemetaar, Negara Malaysia and JUP( 1)
,(

(,
,
I
,
. (
,1
• I 6i1l u·
.. .
.& 0... . Tc r., B:J'\op ,
,. . ..
/ 0
•"., .-,1
I
Ii"
1<0. p o
.1
•K ". .
"',,1>1)<1 •
5 iburan ,
• - " . Ie
••• History of Bidayuh in Seria n •• •
27
'1'
': '
- r . ~
,lj \
.. \.: ,
-:

: Di st rict Then they spread throughout the
__ : :, _ areas in Kuching andSamarahan Divisions
~ __ known as First Division). It was obvious that
= - sett led in the vicinity ofwhat is now I<uching
..r ; its nearbyareas. Although the Bidayuh used
~ = __ ghouse dwellers, many had abandoned that
- _: residence. They did it out of necessity rather
: ice. Bidayuh were not vigorous people; they
- : =asy going, pacific and even timid. That was
: . e becameconvenient prey for thei r aggressive
_ rs. In the centuriesof slave tradingand head­
: - ::! , their longhouses were favourite targets of
y the pirates from Sulu Sea and the stronger
-=-='-omSri Aman Division (formerly known as Second
_' ) ). The peace-loving Bidayuhs put up little
: ~ n c e . This naturally encouraged their persecutors­
:'._rn whenever they desired loot. Harassed, bullied
: : espairing, they abandoned their homes, retreated
-- e rivers, and in some cases left low-lying areas
-. et her and fled to higher, more defensible ground.
- -ately, many built thei r houses on the mountains
- as Gunung Singai, Gunung Landar, Gunung Jagoi,
. ng Serembu in Bau District, Gunung Penrissen
- ·u nung Siburan (Sintah) in Kuching District as
- as the mountainous areas such as Tembawang
-: : (Kujang Mawang), Mawang Taup and Semabang
- -at Mawang) of Ulu Sadong in Serian District.
When Sir James Brooke became the first White
; n of Sarawak in 1841, he permitted Christian
- :sionaries to preach in Sarawak. When the
__ionaries arrived, they chose a differentapproach
in over the Bidayuhs. They lived together with
3idayuhs in the Kampungs, learned to speak their
- ; uages/ di alect s and brought about the
establishment of churches, schools and even clinics.
Missi onaries gave the villagers clothing and medicine
and taught them howto read and write. In the olden
days, Christianity and the Bidayuh faiths/beliefs were
absolutelycontrary in te rms ofthought and st ruct ure.
Those who did not accept Christianity were considered
infidel, primitive, animists and uncivilized. Christianity
became the symbol of modernization and education.
However, those who had accepted Chri stianity had no
other alt ernat ive but to leave the pagan villages and
built new villages elsewhere in order to avoid conflict
and disagreement with the pagan elders .
V) Bidayuh Language / DiaLects
According to a legend related by Datuk William
Nais, the former Bidayuh Temenggong of Kuching
Division, Dayak Bidayuhs of the Western part of
Kalimantan Borneo spoke only one local Bidayuh
dialect known as Peroh dialect in the olden days and
they themselves called Dayak Biperoh. However, as
time passed, they migrated from areas around
Sungkung to Rabak Mikabuh and later from Rabak
Mikabuh, they moved and settled down in various
places on hilltops identifying themselves with their
new settlements and their new leaders.
Unli ke other indige nous groups who normally use
the river system to differentiate andto name the groups,
the Bidayuh mostly use the mountain or hill system
and localeventsto name their groups. Hence, the Jagoi
group derived its name from Gunung Jagoi, the Singai
group named after Gunung Singai, the Sadong group
named afterGunung Sadong andthe Bukar group derived
from word "Kakar" which means "dirty/muddy water".
'" History of Bidoyuh in Serian •••
28
The Bidayuhs have four main known dialects i.e.
Bukarj Sadongin Serian, Biatah in Kuching, JagoijSingai
in Bau and SelakaujLara in Lundu with each dialectical
group having many variations and different talking
styles, sound and indistinct pronunciation. Sometimes
it is quite confusing amongthe Bidayuhsfrom different
dialectical groups and much worse to a non-Bidayuh.
Hence, there are ma ny Malay, some Iban and even
English words are in common usage too.
Dayak Bidayuh dialects as a whole arevery unique
because their root-words are not derived from any
particular dialects. However, the Selakau dialect is an
exception because it is more or less simi lar to the
Sarawa k local Malay language. In the olden days,
individual contact among the Dayak Bidayuh was difficult
due to communication problem and other pre-waiting
danger such ashead hunting. Hence, when they found
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
difficult ies in namingcertainthings, theyinvented new
words for t hem. They also change their pronunciations
to some extent in order to suit the surrounding
envi ronment. Thechangesin dialecticalintonationcame
into bei ng after a long process, thus causing differences
among the Bidayuh dialects. Further more, wit hin each
dialectal group, there are variation's. The Bibukarj
Bi sadong, the Biatah and Bij agoijBi singai could
understand one another in conversat ion but could not
follow the pro nunciation exactly. The SelakojRara
(SelakaujLara) dialect is, however, quite differentfrom
other Bidayuh dialects because Selakoj Rara (Selakauj
Lara) dialect contains many local Malay words.
The following common words together withthe
mea ni ngs in Bidayu h are select ed to show t he
different pronunciations of each groups:­
English SingaijJagoi
areas, Bau
PenrissenjPadawan
areas, Kuching
BukarjSadong
areas, Serian
SelakojRara
areas, Lundu
Eat man maan ma-an uman
Drin k nuok mo-ok nyihup man pain
Rice (boiled) tubi tubi sungkoi nasi
Hou se bori ramin rumin rumin
Have ogi agl aduhjadueh uni
Don't have do'-i matingjd agi (Bia nnah) anyap kati
Speak sinda miyu nyanda kasena
Cold mudud madud Bebi dinginjpanut
Day anu anu andu ana
Village Kupuo Rai s Binua Kampung
--- - -- --- --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
29

:-}ns
.: ' ng
.arne


. ' ar/
_ ld
.: not


- .;-au/
:-- t he
the
.
-
-
-
hat is the main reason for the Bidayuh in
3 ' t o have different pronunciations for each
_ . Vhen I served in Serian District as the District
- --=r in the early 1980s, I visited Kampung I<ujang
30g in Ulu Sadong. A Bidayuh elder there told
- .: rat it was true that the Bidayuhs spoke one
age a-nd one dialect in Ka limant an Barat,
- -nesia a long time ago. However, when they
.-at ed to Sarawak and settled down in different
::..= tions. The local different environment especially
:: di fferent water from the riverthey drank adjusted
=' r tongues and, hence, resulted the different
. .: unciat ions of each Bidayuh group in Sarawak
: 3. y. Another point was that t he differences were
:: 'n ly due to topographical ci rcumst a nces .
0:, embering that more than 150 years ago, there
-0 5 hardly any road existed in the Bidayuh rural areas,
---= only means of travel was using the jungle-path
or riverine transport. The Bidayuhs stayed in their
own Kampungs, the ir dialects were also affected
through const ant contact with other nearby races;
even a spell of 100 years changed a language/dia lect
considerably. Anyway, the Bidayuh words in daily use
are still the same or nearly the same in most cases.
VI) Bidayuh Groups in Sarawak.
(1) Bidayuh Main Groups
In Sarawak, there are altogether thirty-four
Bidayuh groups' mainly staying in Kuchi ng and
Samarahan Di visions. Generally they call themselves
after the localities they are staying or aft er certain
event s or local incident s. However, there are six main
Bidayuh groups who are commonly known in Sarawa k.
The details are as follows:­
••• History of Bidayuh in Serial! • ••
No Name of the group District How the name being derived
:i) Bi sadong Serian Named after Batang Sadong and Gunung Sadong, the
main river and mountain 'in Serian District.
J) Bibukar Serian From the word "Kakar" which means "dirty and muddy
river". Eventually, it is pronounced as "Bukar", Bukar
is also the name of a river.
c) Biatah Kuchi ng From the word "Entah" which means "don't know" and
the word "Betah" which means "broken". Eventually, it is
pronounced as "Biata h'.
d) Bijagoi Bau Named after Gunung Jago i - the mountain in Ba u District.
e) Bisingai Bau Nam ed after Gunung Singai - the mountain in Bau District.
f) Dayak Selako/Rara Lundu Named after Sungai Selako (Selakau) in-Kalimantan Barat.
30
a) Bisadong Group
Bisadongs are staying along Batang Sadong
and its tributaries such as Batang Kayan, Sungai
Kedup, Sungai Suhu and Sungai Robin as well as at
the side of Gunung Sadong in Serian District. Hence,
they call themselves Bidayuh of Sadong i.e. Bisadong,
Actually, there were many sub-groups within the
Sadong Group.
b) Bibukar Group
Bibukars are residing nearto Batang Samarahan
and its tributaries. In the olden days, when their
ancestors migrated from Sungkung/Bugau to
Tembawang Rutoi and then settled at a new place by
the river near Gunung Sadong and built themselves a
long house. On many occasions, the river became dirty
and muddy as a result of the crossings made by wild
animals in the Ulu. Since the dirty/muddy water was
. known as "Kakar" in Bidayuh Bukar dialect, the river
was known as Sungai Kakar and eventually it was
pronounced as Sungai Bukar. Hence, the Bidayuh
staying in the area now call themselves Bibukar.
c) Biatah Group
As far as the word "Biatah" is concerned, it
has three versions:­
First Version
The first version was that "Biatah" was the
name of one of the descendants ofTenabi, the
first man and the first Land Dayak (Bidayuh)
who lived on Borneo Island called "Atah". The
• • • HiS/DIY of Bida yuh in Serian •••
descendants of Atah called themselves
"Bi Atah" and settled down at a mountain
which they called "Si-Buran", Eventually, the
group was known as "Biatah" and the place
was called "Gunung Siburan" until today.
Second Version
The second version was that the word "Biatah'
actuallycame from a local Malay word "Entah"
When Sarawak was still under Brunei Rule, one
Malay officerfrom Brunei went to Siburan are"
and wanted to look for someoneto collect tax.
He asked the local Land Dayak whom he me­
along the footpath and asked where was S0
and so. The Land Dayak who did not know the
person but answered in local Malay "Entah'
which means "Don't Know". Eventually, whoeve
went to Siburan Area would say he wanted tc
go to "Entah" which slowly pronounced as
"Biatah" meaning the people of the area.
Third Version
According to Pemanca Kudui ak. Suwed
_
0':
Siburan, a long time ago when the first qrouc
of Land Dayak (Bidayuh) migrated from Raba
Mikabuh to Gunung Siburan, they saw a b':
stone at the present site of Kampung Sintah
They heard voices from inside the stone. Whe ­
the stone was broken (in Bidayuh dialect ­
"Batu Betah"), they saw a couple (Man a
Woman) in it. The Bidayuhs from Rab a
Mikabuh calledthem "Bi Betah" which literal
means "Peoplefrom the broken stone". Slowh
it was pronounced as "Biatah" until today.
: .. ' .
mselves 31
-o unt ain
__ally, the
- e place

8iatah"
Entah".
-.r le, one
_' an area
ect tax.
ne met
.vas so
-CJ W the
:ntah"
oever
- ":ed to
- :ed as
of
_"
=,abak
? big
> :tah.
-: Nhen
: .ect ­
- and
: sbak

. : /Vly,
'jagoi Group
:" ;agoi originally came from Gunung Bratak,
settlement where the Bidayuhs who first
- :e d from Sungkung in Kalimantan Barat ,
" = " 3 and settled down there, The Bijagoi moved
_ _119 Jagoi from Bung Bratak sometime in early
. order to avoid atta cks by Skrang Ibans from
-- en Division (Second Division) . The Bijagoi
I n the top of Gunung Jagoi whi ch is 1,162
: : ove sea level. Eventually, the Bidayuhs who
.0 ::aying at Gunung Jagoi and it s surrounding
called themselves "Bijagoi" , the people of
, _ Jagoi until today.
Bi si ngai Group "
-unung Singai which is 1,843 feet above sea­
.0 is the home of all the Bisingai in Bau and
Districts. Th e word "Singai" was taken from
: - ? e of Panglima Ma Ganai @ Rangai who was
, =' st Panglima (Togung) who led his followers
- Sungkung to Gunung Singai. At first, the
__-=:ain was known as "Dorod Ganai" and eventually,
25 pronounced as "Do rod Singai" until today.
- :':= . ' the Bidayuhs who are staying around Do rod
:- ;0"call themselves Bisingai.
Selakau (Selako)jRara Group
In the past, Selakau/Rara did not belong to
_ 8idayuh community. However, with effect from
- s, they have been classified under the Bidayuh
_ _ because of political reasons. There are not many
c/ Rara in Sarawak and they are only found in
Lundu Di strict. In the olden days, the ancestors of
Selako lived at Gajing Mountain and Sengkuku area
which are sit uated at the source of Selako (Selakau)
River near Sengkawang. Selako mig rated to Sarawak
somet ime in 1800s and stayed around Pasir River
and Kayan River. The Rara came from Benkayang
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia at the later stage and
they first settled down at Redang Raya in the Uppe r
Pasir Rive r in Lundu Di strict. Today, the re are many
inter-marriages whi ch t ake place between Selako and
Rara in Lundu Di strict. TheSelako is actually bringing
the name of "Sekalo (Selakau)" from Selakau River in
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia and used it as the name
of Selako (Selakau) race in Sarawak.
(2) All Bidayuh Groups
In 1846, Hugh Lowin hi6 book" Sarawak - Its
Inhabitants and Production" stated t hat there were
21 Bidayuh t ribes who settled in the 29 villages
consisting of 1,500 families/houses and wit h a
population of 10,500. Of these tribes, 6 had their
villages on the western branch and the remainder on
the southern stream of the Sarawak River (Low p.290­
291). According to Henry Ling Roth in his book "The
Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo"(Vol. 1)
published in 1896, the main Bidayuh settlements were
as follows:­
(1) Upper Sarawak River (4 settlements)
Aup, Surambau (Serembu), Singgie (Singai) and
Sow (Sauh)
(2) Lundu Territory (2 settlements)
Sela ka /Rara (Selakau/Lara) and Sedumak
(Sedemak).
• •• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
3 2 . ~ . _
(3) Left- ha nd branch of Sarawak River (9 (4) Up per Sam arahan River (1 settlement) .
settle ments).,. Bukar
Sampro (Peroh), Sentah (Sintah) , Sennah
(Ann ah Rais) (5) Upper Sadong River (4 settlem ent s).
Si mpoke (Simpo k), Sig u (Benuk) , Brang Engrat (Ming rat/Ngarat) , En gkrok (Engkeroh),
(Braang) . Kadup (Kedup) and Mi likin.
St ang (Sit an g), Te bia (Tibi ah), Sib ungo
(Bengoh) (6) Kuap River (1 sett lement )
Kuap (Quop)
Bidayuh beauties from various groups attending AnnuaL Harvest FestivaL in Kuching
••• History ofBidayuh in Serian ...
33
- 7 are altogether 34 Bi dayuh groups in Sarawak, The details are as follows :­

-
Di st rict Serian District Bau District Lundu District Sarawak
-
:::- "­ gro up
: n group
: 7:.: og group
-
-
: :3. ah group
an
=,: nyawa group
3'annah group
"ibiah group
3raang group
Simpok group
Bengo h group
Semban group
.:J
1) Bukar grou p
2) Sa mbat group
3) Mentu group
4) Sumpas group
'5)
Tem ong group
6) Taup group
7) Eng kero h group
8) Rii h group
9) Ga hat (Semabang) gro up
10) Su ntas (Sontas) group
11) Kujang group
12) Prangkan Group ,
13) Sangai Group
14) Daha Group
15) Tepoij Biannah Group
15 groups
"
.
1) Singai grou p
2) JagoijBrata k group
3) Serembu group
(Bi roi s)
4) Gumbang group
5) Tringgus group
5 groups
1) Selako (S elakau)
Gajing grou p
2) Salako (Selakau)
Sengkuku Pueh
grou p
3) Rara(Lara) group
4) Undu group
(already extinct)
3 groups
..
34 groups
-
: : groups
• • • History ofBidayuh in Serian •••
34
VII) Bidayuh Population in Sarawak.
The Bidayuh population is mainly found in Kuching
and Samarahan Divisions although small numbers of the
Bidayuh population arefound in every district ofSarawak.
In 1841, the population of the Bidayuh (Land Dayak) in
Sarawak was estimated to 6,792. By 1876, the population
increased to 18,379 and by1939, it had reached 36,963.
In 1947, they numbered 42,195. The increase of 14.2
percent between 1939 and 1947 was one of the highest
among the indigenous groups inSarawak. This considerable
increase had cast doubts on the 1939 enumeration, but it
was unlikely that many could have been left out in this ·
cou nt. It was thought that in-migration of the Bidayuhs
from Indonesia Borneo might have contributed to the
increase.
Between 1947 and 1960, the Bidayuh population
increased by 36.6 percent, the highest rate of increase
among the indigenous communities. There was noconcrete
••• History of Bidayun in Serian •.•
evidence to suggest that the bulk ofincrease was due to
immigration or to an undercount at the last census.
Inthe past, the Bidayuhs hadnot beenvery mobile
except from 1947 to 1960 period when some of them
prompted by the opportunityfor employment with a bauxite
company which began operation in 1947 moved to Lundu
District. Although there hasbeen no internal migration of
any significance over the years since they moved into
Sarawak from the Indonesian border, the Bidayuh
population increased substantially during the 1947 to 1960
period.
Based onYearbook ofStatistics Sarawak 2001, there
were 166,756 Bidayuhs out ofa total of 2,071,506 peopLe
in Sarawak. In term of percentage, it forms about 8.05%
of the Sarawak population or 0.07% of the 22 million
population of Malaysia. This showed that the Bidayuh was
the fourth largest racial group in Sarawak afterthe Ibans,
Chinese and Ma lays. The details of the population of the
Bidayuh in Sarawak from 1841 to 2000 are as folLows:­
Year
r
PopuLation Percentage
Distribution
Source -
1841 6,792 Henry Keppel "The expedition to Borneo of HMS Dido Vo1.2
(London 1847) P.206
1876 18,379 Sarawak Gazette No. 124 (Ku ching 1876) P.4
1939 36,963 Lee Yong Leng, "Population & Settlement in Sarawak (1970) P. 91
1947 42,195 14.2 Lee Yong Lenq. "Population & Settlement in Sarawak (1970) P.91
1960 58,000 36.6 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1970 84,000 7.7 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1980 108,000 8.5 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1990 140,000 8.4 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1995 153,400 Yearbook of Statistics 1997 Sarawak
1999 164,500 Yearbook of Statistics 2000 Sarawak
2000 166,756 Yearbook of Statistics 2001 Sarawak
-
35
- .; o S due to
- us.
Alt hough the Bidayuh population concentrat es in Kuching, Bau, Lundu and Serian Districts, Bidayuhs can
-- nd throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak. Based on the Sarawak Yearbook of Stati stics 1980,
=' j mobile
- _and 2000, the population of the Bidayuh in every district of Sarawak is as follows:­
-: of them
- abauxite
-c : Lundu
- of
-: .ed into
-: 3idayuh
-- co 1960
__ : I , there
.: people
.: 8.05%
.: !lillion
_. Jh was
- -: Ibans,
- . ::Jf the
.: ,'/S:­
-
District 1980 Population 1991 Population 2000 Population - .
Kuching 35,041 50,147 63,943
- Lundu 8,512 9,278 10,717
-
-
Bau 21,120 23,413 29,215
-
· Samarahan - 1,538 3,138
"
Serian 39,538 42,851 49,117 J
:. Simunjan 209 284 307
-
Sri Aman 387 461 453
-
-
Lubok Antu 85 90 73
-
-
Betong 55 123 162 ;
. -. Saratok 69 91 134
· -
Sibu 512 1,471 1,505
. .
-
Mukah 41 136 157
_. '
-
Kanowit 28 58 57
.- . Dalat 14 30 28
:
Mi ri 1,101 2,753 3,692
- . ,
. J. ' Bintulu 142 1,338 1,923
· .
Tatau - 113 123
- Marudi 113 368 637
·
Limbang 106 201 271
- -.
· -
Lawas 40 116 168
. . '
· .
Sarikei 168 209 203 _ . ,
-
--
Bintangor 134 . _. 61 91
·
.- Daro 11 38 12
.
-- .
Matu
.
21 7
-.,
- Julau 72 88 80
- -
Kapit 69 196 274 .. .
· -
Song 32 45 69
- .
. -.
· Belaga 23 47 105

Asajaya - - 119
-
TotaL 107,549 135,595 166,756
: 91
: 91
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian .,.
36
According to the data of administrative districts and sub-districts in Kuching and Samarahan Di visions,
the distributi on of the Bidayuh villages and households in 1990 are as follows:­
Division District Locality Total Bidayuh Villages Total Households
Kuching Ku ching Ku ching Proper 6 392
3,643
1,414
3,777
1,490
5,890
889
17,495
Ku ching Ku ching Siburan Sub-District 53
Kuching Kuch ing Padawan Sub-Distri ct 36
Ku ching Bau Bau Di strict 61
Ku ching Lundu Lundu Di strict 35
Sama rahan Serian Serian Di strict 109
Samarahan Serian Tebedu Sub-District 19
Total 319
Based on the records kept by District Offi ce,
Kuching, Bau, Lundu and Serian, there were a total
of 335 Bidayuh Kampungs in Kuching and Samarahan
Divisions in the year 2002. The details are as follows:­
1. Kuching District 96 Kampungs
2. Bau District 63 Kampungs
3. Lundu District 41 Kampungs
4. Serian District 135 Ka mpungs
Total 335 Kampungs
VIII) Superstitious Beliefs and Gawai of the
Bidayuhs
In olden days, Bidayuhs believed in the
t raditionaland superstitious omen and belief. To them
the re was a danger from all sorts of evil spirits who
could cause sickness or misfortune. They could be
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •• ,
guarded against either bytaking care not to provoke
them; or having provoked them, by taking ste ps to
placate them, whic h was done by means of a ceremony
or feast, called "Gawai". There were the refore various
rules laid down t o prohibit the acts that gave
provocation. Some of thes e rules, such as the
observan ce of periods of restriction after festivals or
after deaths , were common to all villages. Those
periods of restriction varied considerably, but were
usually from one to fou r days. During this t ime no
one was allowed either to leave or enter the village.
However, the more important festivals with the
longer periods of restriction were invariably arranged
at a time when the re was no urgent workto be done
in the farms. There were also rules in some villages
that sleeping mats might not be washed, and that
clothing might not be hung outside the housesduring
the period of a festiva1 as it was believed that the
good spirits which had been called down to help the
people might" be offended.
37
Divisions,
useholds
-2

-!4
. - 7

-

-9 5
. - provoke
; steps to
:. .erernony
various
:- at gave
-- as the
es tivals or
Those
: t were
_:i me no
- : vi llage.
_ it hthe

done
-
: - j that
- - .iurinq
-:'- 3t the
-7.Dt he
=. addition to action which human beings
:. : ::! ke to ward off misfortune there were also
- ::'ons of non-human agents, especially various
- of birds, to be taken int o considerat ion. One
.=heard calling from the side of the footpath,
-..: : -= d that the bearer would be lucky on that
- ereas if it flew across the track whoever saw
- : immediately return home. The same bird, if _. -l
ring a hunting expedition to the left was all
: : ut if it was heard to the right the hunters
change direction to put it on the left. Another
=I eard while hunting was a sign that the party
_ - ret urn for reinforcement. A certain insect, if
: at night when sheltering in the jungle on a
expedition, was a sign that the hunte rs
_.:. proceed in that direction. The same insect if
ing Gawai at Kampung Batu Keron on 15-6-1967
heard repeatedly when people were about to build a
new house was an indication that the women who
lived there would have plenty of children, but the
people would also be liable to more sickness. If the
I<ijang, or barking deer, was heard on land which was
about to be cleared for farming, that land should be
abandoned. To some extent these omen birds and
animals could be prevented from act ing.
The most usual way to deal with the m was t o
placate them by giving them offerings at festivals,
and at the same time calling upon good spirits,
especially the spirits of ancestors, to drive themaway.
If, in spite of such precautions, they still managed
t o cause trouble, either the project in question should
be abandoned, or if this was impracticable such as
in the case of a nearly completed new
lonqhouse. then once again they should be
placated by means of suitable offerings and
ceremonies.
Dreams were also believed to have
significance, though they were not
considered to be valid if likely to have been
influenced by one's recent actions before
going to sleep. For instan ce, a dream in
which one was laughing means bad news:
but this would not apply if one had j ust
spent a riotous evening at a festival. Aview
from a mountain-top signifies success, and
to dream that one was carrying a dead cock
indicated success in hunting. To dream of a
fire breaking out meant that an epidemic
would strike the village: a ripe fruit falling
from a tree was a sign that a sick person
was about to die. To dream that a tooth
• • • His/Dryof Bidayuli inSerian •••
33
Bidayuh Traditional Dance "Langgi Pingadap"
performed at Kampung Gahat Mawang on 22-7-1984
dropped off indicated that a member of the family
would die. To count eract this omen it was necessary
to rise at dawn, without mentioning the dream to
anyone, put a grain of maizeInthe mouth and then
threw some yellow rice towards the sunrise, at the
same ti me spitting out the maize saying to the evil
spirits "This is the tooth that you want, do not take
anything more".
As far as common possessions and common
dangers were concerned, the community also had
common means of protection. The most important
were the spirits of ancestors. When a person died his
spirit went to the place called "Sebayan", where
conditions were similar to those prevailing on earth.
The spirits were believed still ta king an interest in
eart hly affairs and could therefore be asked for
assistance. Thesewere usuallyinvoked in two groups:
firstly those of the immediate ancestors of all people
••• Histo ry of Biday uh in Seri an •••
_
attending the particular ceremo ny, who were not
mentioned by name, in order to avoid the risk of
omission which might cause offence; secondly the
spirits of ancest ors who were actually famous during
their lifeti me. These were by no means limit ed to
ancestors of any village, or even of the Land Dayak
race. The priest on his spiritual jo urney during the
ceremony travelled as far a field as Brunei and Java,
and might call upon the spirit of any famous person
of any race! So long as he led a good life when he
was on earth he would help the people then .
Apart from the ancestral spirits there were also
certain objects and places that might have acquired
power. These were called "Guna", They were usually
kept concealed in a small house of their own and
might not be seen except during a special ceremony
which took place only once in several years. Should
they be seen at any other time it was believed that
great misfortune, even a death, might occur. At one
village there were originally two large stones . After
they had been living together for a long time there
were one day found to be three small ones as well.
In other villages the skull of a wild boar, the skull
and horns of a deer, and a large block of Belian wood
were believed to have magical properties. The
existence of such objects within the precincts of a
village might be a major obstacle if it was desired to
persuade that village to move to a better farming
land.
The pagan Bidayuh had so much in their daily
lives to be afraid of, that it might be thought that
they would be ideal subjects for conversion to
Christianity. In fact they were essentially practical
people. Living in the present, '50 there should be no
39
ere not
::: risk of
dly the
_:: during
- ited to
- Dayak
r.ng the
Java,
-.: perso n
il en he
::: e also
:..quired
.; .s ually
j and
_:: mony
Should
:: j that
- -;:: one
After
- : ::here
....: vell,
: sku ll
ood
. _ The
:: of a
:Ho
ing

.nat
- to
-:0.al
- .; '10
=- =-=_al obstacle to accept a new religion if they
_-:: convinced that it would deal with their
':- :,=tter. They were likely to judge it by what
:: -:: ve, or by what its followers could b.e seen
- ::: abtained. This meant mainly education, and
_ - 2 extent better, medical facilities. But
vit hout economic progress might lead to
: :: :: int ment . An increase in the population
: r: a correspondingly higher standard of living
:: discontent.
"he spread of Christianity was probably the
-, port ant factor affecting the welfare of the
__- at the present time and it could be said that
- esult of having three different missionaries
among them had been entirely beneficial so
- .: many cases considerable disruption had been
.ss«: t o village life, for as soon as a few families
--= -" converted they separated themselves from
: -"in village and moved to another part of their
: - ilough they often built bigger and cleaner
_::5, t he split did not make harmony within the
- - _ility, but instead it weakened the authority of
: -::adman. The land could not be divided; and as
s : cess of converting a whole village might take
ti me, there were likely to be more frequent
. : ' sput es.
The Bidayuh believed in witch-craft connected
- ° s' ckness. To treat a patient, he/she was seated
--:: s.ving (Berayun), suspended by Rattan from a
' =- . The evil spirit causing the sickness was
- : .te d by means of incantations and dancing, and
.,:: ';:erred to a specially constructed boat together
_ : eit able offeringsto keepit happyon its journey.
° : :::: at is then put in the river and allowed to float
away down to the sea. If there was no river, a Rattan
was stretched from one end of the house to the other
end of the house, the boat was slid along it and
simply cast out onto the ground. (Drake-Brockman,
P. 29-35)
The disposal of the dead by burning of the
bodyappeared to be a custom confined to the pagan
Bidayuh in the olden days. In western Sarawak, the
custom of the dead was universal; in the Samarahan
area, they were indifferently burnt or buried, and
when the Sadong area was reached, the custom of
cremation ceased, the pagan Bidayuh of Sadong River
Bidayuh woman, Liear, in her traditional costume attending
a Gawai at Kampung Mentu Tapu 0100-8-1954.
••• History ofB idayuli in Serian »>­
40
bel ng in th e habit of
burni ng the dead. Amo ng
the Selaka uj Lara in Lundu
District, the bodies of the
elders and the rich were
burnt while the others were
buried (St, J ohn i. p.163
&1 65). In Siburan area, t he
paga n Si nt a h Bida yuh
burned th e dead of t he
higher class; the poor were
wrapped in a mat and cast
out i n the jungle (ibid ,
ch.viii. p.S7). The pagan
Ser a mbo (Serembu)
Bidayuhs burned all their
deads (Dension, ch.ii.p.14).
However , in 1950, the
pagan Bidayuh in Bukar area
still had t he cont act wit h
the Munggu Babi days. They
still use d the pagan
cemet ery which had served
the old Kampung of Munggu
Babi for the past few
centuries. The Bukar pagans
rolLed up t heir dead in a
st out rattan mat . The body,
th us e ncl osed, was
suspended from the branch
of a tree and left t o rot
away. Later, the bones were
colLected and put into a jar
for burial (Peter Howes,
ch.16.p.209).
•• • History of Bidayuh in Serian .••
Gawai Procession at Kampung Rasau, Serian in 1999
Bidayuh beauties attending Joint Hari Gawai ceLebration at Dewan Suarah Kuching
on 1-6,2003 .
41
_ 19
and Matters and Formation of New
mpungs
- - "! Bidayuhs look at land and the soil and
~ - .ne vhole environmentaround themwith awe,
. - and reverence. Land to the Bidayuhs is a
- ~ sustenance and of life. Even with the advent
'::::rIl development and advance economic way
= : e majority of the Bidayuhs are still living in
. ral areas where they undertake various
_ : -31pursuits. Accordingly, they perceive that
- : e treated with real care and respect. Land
==- utilized basically for paddy planting and
-: . : 2tion has played an important role in the
-:: itaqe of the Bidayuh community. However,
: :: I ' prove the living standard and the social
-.: of the Bidayuh community, the State
- - ent has developed the Native Customary
: R) Land of the Bidayuh in the commercial
~ - . C 1976, through the government agencies
-- - CRA, LCDA, FELCRA, FELDA, DID and the
-:':cult ure Department, large areas of the
- . ustorn ary Rights Land of the Bidayuhs in
~ - d Samarahan Divisions have been planted
~ -- cro ps such as oil palm, cocoa, tea, coffee,
. -- paddy.
- -:: reasons for the formation or creation of
: :::.'1 h Kampungs in Kuching and Samarahan
- : are as follows:­
- :-;:ase of population;
: -:" ce from paddy-fields or Plaman;
-= - ~ .s by the Skrang Ibans and Malay pirates;
: -: :r to bazaar / school/main road;
: : -::ad of epidemic diseases such as smallpox,
cholera and leprosy;
(6) Belief in different religions within the same
Kampung; and
(7) Difference of political ideology.
In normal circum stances, the Plaman
eventually became an official Kampung recognized
by the Government. Hence, a new Kampung was
established. The expansion in population in a
Kampung to such an extent that many of its people
had to waste long hours that could have been spent
in paddy-fields, merely in walking to and fro the
Kampung and the paddy-field. To avoid the waste of
time, a "Plaman"(a temporary house) was built near
the remote paddy fields, which was occupied
seasonallyonly. Village separation is in fact the desire
for better farming land and building temporary houses
nearer to their farming land and, at the same time, it
has given an opportunity forthe absorption of outside
group into the new Kampung. As time passed by, the
Plaman became a permanent structure and occupied
permanently. To distinguish between the Kampung
and the Plaman, the parental Kampung was known
as Kampung Mawang whereas the Plaman was called
Kampung Plaman. As time went on, the Plaman
became more independent and permanent houses and
even schools were built in some areas.
The attacks by the Skrang Ibans and other
piratesfrom the sea especially in Upper Sarawak (Bau,
Penrissen and Padawan areas) and Upper Sadong
(Serian District) had killed numerous Bidayuhs, took
away their wives and children as slaves and also
destroyed their properties. The constant attacks had
causedthe Bidayuhs to move away-from the Kampungs
and stayed in the hilly areas and even in the caves
. • •• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
42:.-­
in order to avoid being attac ked and killed by the
intruders. In the olden days, most Bidayuh Kampung s
were built in the rural areas where there were no
road, bazaar and school. During the Brooke Regime
and colonial days from 1841 to 1963, some roads,
bazaars and schools were built quite far from the
Kampungs. In order to be closer to the road where
Bazaars and schools were available, many Bidayuh
Kampungs moved and settled down along the main
road. That is why one can see many new Kampungs
are built along Kuchinq/Bau/Lundu Road, Kuchinq/
SerianjTebedu Road, Padawan/Tebedu Link Road and
Penrissen/Padawan Road nowadays. The spread of
epidemic diseases such as smallpox, cholera and
leprosy in the olden days in the Bidayuh Kampungs
was also one of the factors which caused the Bidayuhs
to leave the affected Kampungs and moved to new
areasin orderto avoid further attack of such epidemic
diseases.
With the introduction of more Christian
religions and the conversion of some Bidayuhs to
Islamic faith in the Bidayuh populated areas
especially in Bau, Lundu, Penrissen, Siburan,
Padawan, Serian, Bukar and Tebedu areas, some
Bidayuh Kampungs split into different villages
following their different religious beliefs. After
Sarawak achieved independencewithin Malaysia since
1963, political parties were formed and Bidayuh
themselves were divided politically. Hence, the
different political beliefs had also caused some
Bidayuh Kampungs to split among themselvesin order
to form a village with a group of Bidayuhs believing
the same political ideology.
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
_
X) Comments on the Bidayuh Community
by the Europeans
S. Baring-Gould and C.A. Bampfylde in their
book entitled "A History of Sarawak under its two
White Rajahs" described the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs)
as a numerous and prosperous group but were reduced
to a small number due to the attacks by the Sea
Dayaks (Ibans). The men were slaughtered, the women
and children were taken as slaves and the fruit trees
were cut down. Paddy and other crops were burnt.
When James Brooke visited Sarawak in 1840, the
Chiefs of the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs) told him, "The
Rajah (from Brunei) takes from us whatever he wants,
at whatever price he pleases, and the Pengirans take
whatever they can get for no price at all" (Baring­
Gould and Bampfylde, p.57). The result of such
treatment was that the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs)
escaped to the country beyond the reach of their
persecutors to avoid exploitation and slaughter.
Malcolm MacDonald, the then British Governor
General for Singapore and Malaya, in his book "Borneo
People" said that the Bidayuhs were the principal
inhabitants of the originalterritory acquired byJames
Brooke. The Bidayuhs were long house dwellers before,
but many had abandoned that form of residence. They
did it out of necessity rather than by choice. The
Bidayuhs were not a vigorous group but easy going
and peace-loving people. Due to these factors, they
became preys of their aggressive neighbours. In the
century of the slave trading and headhunting, the
Bidayuh longhouses were being attacked by the
combined forces of Brunei Malays and the Ibans from
Second Division (Sri Aman). The Bidayuhs being the
peace-loving people put up little resistance and this
h Community
ipfvlde in their
. under its two
laks (Bidayuhs)
.r t were reduced
.ks by the Sea
red, the women
t he fruit trees
) s were burnt.
in 1840, the
.old him, "The
.ever he wants,
':Iengirans take
: all" (Baring­
ssult of such
, (Bidayuhs)
of their
, .:lU ghter.
Governor
: ook"Borneo
:..-e principal
byJames
before,
_ .snce. They
: - ice. The
going
-: ::ors, they
- - In the
_- .inq. the
=: by the
. : sns from
. : cing the
:-= and this
'. encouraged the enemies to return whenever
. esired loots. Harassed, bullied and despaired,
=- cayuhs abandoned their homesin the low-lying
: -' and retreated up the rivers to the higher and
: :.2fensi ble ground. Ultimately, many built their
< near to the mountain tops.
Hedda Morrison in her book called "Sarawak"
- ent ed that there was some danger of extinction
.-=Bidayuhs before James Brooke became the
' ::0 Raj ah of Sarawak. She said, "The Bidayuhs are
- : and inoffensive people ... unable to withstand
. . roads of the warlike Ibans coming from the
ivision (Sri Aman) coupled with the brutal
of the Brunei Malay Rulers of Sarawak. The
-=' Rulers not only bullied and enslaved the people
. :,'-So had no compunction in allowingexpeditions
-- 2 Ibans to attack the Land Dayak areas. The
: - 5 kept the heads of the people they slaughtered
: nanded over the slaves whom they captured to
= Brunei authority as their share of the loot" (H.
'son, p.245).
J.F. Drake-Brockman who served as a District
"""'cer of one of the districts in First Division
_ - pat hized with the Bidayuhs who had been
: :-ressed by the Brunei Rulers althoug h they were
:. -abiding people. According to him the Bidayuhs
"Easy to teach and willing to learn ... Not lazy;
: r : not too energetic, always cheerful and easily
: : /oked to mirth. It is a great pleasure to work
- ong them". (Drake-Brockman, p.37).
James Brooke described the Land Dayaks as a
- re wretched, oppressed race. He said, 'Thouqh
..... ...
industrious, they never reap what they sow; t houq
their country is rich in produce, they are obliged to
yield it all to their oppressors: though yielding all
beyond their bare sustenance, they rarely can preserve
half their children and often, too often, are robbec
of them all, with their wives" (Dickson, p.186).
XI) Binua Tembawang Rutoi
Binua Tembawang Rutoi also known as
Sinangkan Guyan in the olden days was the original
village of Kg. Kujang Mawang in Serian District. It
was obviously the earliest and the oldest Bidayuh
village established in 1370s and it was situated not
far from the present Kg. Kujang Mawang. Tembawang
Rutoi was abandoned when the last group of Bidayuh
left the old settlement and migrated to Kamp ung
Temong Mawang in 1750s. It seemed that Tembawa ng
Rutoi such like Rabak Mikabuh in Penrissen Area,
Kuching was also the entry point and transit station
for the different Bidayuh groups who migrated from
Kalimantan Barat. Indonesia to Serian areas, Sarawak
in the olden days.
Kampung Kujang Mawang is now accessible by
a 3-kilometre gravel road from Jalan Tebeduj
Pangkalan Amo since' 2002. Perhaps it is a good idea
to develop the old historical and abandoned site of
Binua Tembawang Rutoi into a Bidayuh Cultural and
Historical Centre. Once developed, it will not only
provide a venue for Serian Bidayuh to visit, pay
respect and worship the ancestors at the original
home of the Bidayuh in Serian but also it will attra ct
local and foreign tourists to visit the earliest Bidayuh
historical site in Serian District.
• •• History of Bidayuh in Seri.: ...

Related Interests

­
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- ...... ., ..
'.- . :,", : &,. ' , '
...... .­

"•. . ' .: - , : t:
I>:; HI'! o.

, , , History of Bidayuh in Serian •• ,
24
(3) An cestral Homes
The Bidayuh is on e of the ind igen oUs
communities in Sarawak and they were among the
earli est people to inhabit in Sarawak. During the
Brooke's and the colonial era, they were known as
the Land Dayak meaning the people of the hill
country. Today, the Land Dayak prefer to be known
as Bidayuh. In their dialect, "Bi" means "people"
and "Dayuh" means, "Land". Hence" Bidayuh" means
"people of the land". Their original home is believed
to be around the lower basin of Kepuas River,
upstream Sanggau River and Sekayam River in
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia. However, most of the
Bidayuhs in Sarawak believed that Sung kung , Bugau
and Sungai Selakau were their three major ancestors'
homes, all situated in Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
Sung kung is situated in Seluas, near to Gunung Niyut
which is 1,701 metres above the sea level. Bugau,
which is an old Bidayuh settlement, is located not
far from Kampung Mongkos in.Serian. Gajing Mountain
is the homeland .of the Selako (Selakau) and it is
situated at the source of Sela kau River near
Singkawang. According to a legend, most Bidayuhs
from Indonesia came to Sarawak about 20 generations
before the Karakatao eruption on 27-8-1883. Based
on one generation of 25 years, the Bidayuhs have
been staying in Sarawak for more than 600 years
since 1383. It is evident that the close relationship
still exists between the Bidayuh people residing on
both sides of Sarawak/Kalimantan border. According
to Rev. Father J. Staal, the Sung kung Dayaks were
fierce and warlike. Many of them were the descendents
of a China-man who married with a couple of Dayak
women took refuge on the uninhabited mountains.
He hadthe surname known as "Lim" and, hence, many
• • • History of Bidayub in Serian '"
of the Sungkung people are Lirns ! (Staa l, P.56, 19/,0)
There is a descendent of Lim in Penrissen area. He is
Ketua Kaum Simak ak Baeh of Kampung Banggau,
Penrissen who confirmed that he is one of the many
descendents of the Lims in Sarawa k when I
interviewed him at Kampung Banggau on 3-2-2001.
4) ATrip to Sungkung by Bishop Rev. Peter H.H.
Howes
On 20-7-1953, the Right Rev. Peter Henry
Herbert Howes who was the n the Assist ant Bi shop of
Angli can Chu rch and 5 others made a trip from
Pangkalan Ampat, Padawan to Sungkung which was
60 miles away. They spent a night at Kampung Kiding.
Early next morning, they departed, pausing for a
moment at Kampung Sapit and then crossing over
the border to Kampung Goon in Kalimantan Barat,
Indonesia. From Goon , the path skirted the slopes of
Baji Mountai n and then onto Temau Mountain until
they reached Kampung Tuaan at 5.00 p.m. After
spending a night at the Kampung , they left Tuaan at
4.00 a.m. the next early morning until they arrived
at Kumba River where they had their breakfast. After
crossing the river and late that afternoon, they
reached the first seven Kampungs of Sung kung at
about 2,000 feet above the sea level. Each Kampung
had its own headman and there was a space of about
three to four hundred yards between each cluster of
dwellings. There were no long houses except individual
houses. In the village, there was "Arud Trauh" - a
large rock formation alleged to be Trauh's boat (Howes
p.247). sungkung had no heirlooms to showto Peter
H.H.Howes and his party. According to the people
there, in 1935, a party of Dutch visitors had been
relieved of their heads and.the Dutch authority had
25
: its soldiers to show its displeasure. The old
; ~ e of Sungkung was burnt to the ground and all
; : au.
.. .ooms had perished in the raid (Howes p.248).
- ~ n y
'nformat ion, Pet er Howes came to Sarawak in
-': ' I
_ : - after his ordination in Durham, England and he
. : )1 .
ss appointed as Archdeacon of Sarawakand Brunei
. :7 0s. He was born on 20-3-1911, retired in 1985
.H.
- Cl assed away in United Kingdom on 12-4-2003
--:: age of 92 after a short illness.
- ':il ry
In the olden days, it took 5 days for the
-: :' of
= ung people to go to the nearest shopping centre
· -om
- Sanqqau in Kalimantan Barat whereas they could
- o':as
::' : iI Pangkalan Ampat in Padawan or Pangkalan
:' :'1 g.
. :.: = 19 in Ulu Bau withi n a period of 2 days. From
' : r a
- :l kung, there was a path leading to Plaman
: . er
: gus Bering via Tu?an. It took about 12 hours on
:: :: -at.
: : 0 of
_ til
. ·ter
:. - at
- .l ed
-rter
~ l e y
- : at
- : . ng
.: Jut
' :' of
' :'Jal
. - a
' : '!es
=:ter
- : ole
::en
-ad
Photo of Bishop Peter
Henry Herbert Howes
taken in October 1980.
foot to complete the journey. From Plaman Trin ggus
Bering, it took about 8 hours to reach Kampung
Tringgu s and one and half hours by boat to Pang kalan
Tebang. However, today, one can drive avehicle from
Pangkalan Tebang t o Kampung Tringgus by road
within 15 minutes only.
(5) First Bidayuh SettLements in Sarawak
When the Bidayuh first came to Sarawak, they
built longhouses and settled in the regions around
Gunung Penri ssen especially at Rabak Mikabuh in
Kuching Distri ct, at Gunung Serembu, Gunung Singai
and Bung Bratak in Bau District. They also stayed
ar ound th e present Kampung Gahat Ma wang
(Semabang), Kam pung Mawang Taup and Kampu ng
. Kujang Mawang (formerly known as Tembawang Rutoi)
Kampung SU!1.9,kung, KaLimantan Barat, Indonesia. Photo taken in JuLy 1953
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••

Locality Map of Serian District (Source from Pengarah Pemetaar, Negara Malaysia and JUP( 1)
,(

(,
,
I
,
. (
,1
• I 6i1l u·
.. .
.& 0... . Tc r., B:J'\op ,
,. . ..
/ 0
•"., .-,1
I
Ii"
1<0. p o
.1
•K ". .
"',,1>1)<1 •
5 iburan ,
• - " . Ie
••• History of Bidayuh in Seria n •• •
27
'1'
': '
- r . ~
,lj \
.. \.: ,
-:

: Di st rict Then they spread throughout the
__ : :, _ areas in Kuching andSamarahan Divisions
~ __ known as First Division). It was obvious that
= - sett led in the vicinity ofwhat is now I<uching
..r ; its nearbyareas. Although the Bidayuh used
~ = __ ghouse dwellers, many had abandoned that
- _: residence. They did it out of necessity rather
: ice. Bidayuh were not vigorous people; they
- : =asy going, pacific and even timid. That was
: . e becameconvenient prey for thei r aggressive
_ rs. In the centuriesof slave tradingand head­
: - ::! , their longhouses were favourite targets of
y the pirates from Sulu Sea and the stronger
-=-='-omSri Aman Division (formerly known as Second
_' ) ). The peace-loving Bidayuhs put up little
: ~ n c e . This naturally encouraged their persecutors­
:'._rn whenever they desired loot. Harassed, bullied
: : espairing, they abandoned their homes, retreated
-- e rivers, and in some cases left low-lying areas
-. et her and fled to higher, more defensible ground.
- -ately, many built thei r houses on the mountains
- as Gunung Singai, Gunung Landar, Gunung Jagoi,
. ng Serembu in Bau District, Gunung Penrissen
- ·u nung Siburan (Sintah) in Kuching District as
- as the mountainous areas such as Tembawang
-: : (Kujang Mawang), Mawang Taup and Semabang
- -at Mawang) of Ulu Sadong in Serian District.
When Sir James Brooke became the first White
; n of Sarawak in 1841, he permitted Christian
- :sionaries to preach in Sarawak. When the
__ionaries arrived, they chose a differentapproach
in over the Bidayuhs. They lived together with
3idayuhs in the Kampungs, learned to speak their
- ; uages/ di alect s and brought about the
establishment of churches, schools and even clinics.
Missi onaries gave the villagers clothing and medicine
and taught them howto read and write. In the olden
days, Christianity and the Bidayuh faiths/beliefs were
absolutelycontrary in te rms ofthought and st ruct ure.
Those who did not accept Christianity were considered
infidel, primitive, animists and uncivilized. Christianity
became the symbol of modernization and education.
However, those who had accepted Chri stianity had no
other alt ernat ive but to leave the pagan villages and
built new villages elsewhere in order to avoid conflict
and disagreement with the pagan elders .
V) Bidayuh Language / DiaLects
According to a legend related by Datuk William
Nais, the former Bidayuh Temenggong of Kuching
Division, Dayak Bidayuhs of the Western part of
Kalimantan Borneo spoke only one local Bidayuh
dialect known as Peroh dialect in the olden days and
they themselves called Dayak Biperoh. However, as
time passed, they migrated from areas around
Sungkung to Rabak Mikabuh and later from Rabak
Mikabuh, they moved and settled down in various
places on hilltops identifying themselves with their
new settlements and their new leaders.
Unli ke other indige nous groups who normally use
the river system to differentiate andto name the groups,
the Bidayuh mostly use the mountain or hill system
and localeventsto name their groups. Hence, the Jagoi
group derived its name from Gunung Jagoi, the Singai
group named after Gunung Singai, the Sadong group
named afterGunung Sadong andthe Bukar group derived
from word "Kakar" which means "dirty/muddy water".
'" History of Bidoyuh in Serian •••
28
The Bidayuhs have four main known dialects i.e.
Bukarj Sadongin Serian, Biatah in Kuching, JagoijSingai
in Bau and SelakaujLara in Lundu with each dialectical
group having many variations and different talking
styles, sound and indistinct pronunciation. Sometimes
it is quite confusing amongthe Bidayuhsfrom different
dialectical groups and much worse to a non-Bidayuh.
Hence, there are ma ny Malay, some Iban and even
English words are in common usage too.
Dayak Bidayuh dialects as a whole arevery unique
because their root-words are not derived from any
particular dialects. However, the Selakau dialect is an
exception because it is more or less simi lar to the
Sarawa k local Malay language. In the olden days,
individual contact among the Dayak Bidayuh was difficult
due to communication problem and other pre-waiting
danger such ashead hunting. Hence, when they found
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
difficult ies in namingcertainthings, theyinvented new
words for t hem. They also change their pronunciations
to some extent in order to suit the surrounding
envi ronment. Thechangesin dialecticalintonationcame
into bei ng after a long process, thus causing differences
among the Bidayuh dialects. Further more, wit hin each
dialectal group, there are variation's. The Bibukarj
Bi sadong, the Biatah and Bij agoijBi singai could
understand one another in conversat ion but could not
follow the pro nunciation exactly. The SelakojRara
(SelakaujLara) dialect is, however, quite differentfrom
other Bidayuh dialects because Selakoj Rara (Selakauj
Lara) dialect contains many local Malay words.
The following common words together withthe
mea ni ngs in Bidayu h are select ed to show t he
different pronunciations of each groups:­
English SingaijJagoi
areas, Bau
PenrissenjPadawan
areas, Kuching
BukarjSadong
areas, Serian
SelakojRara
areas, Lundu
Eat man maan ma-an uman
Drin k nuok mo-ok nyihup man pain
Rice (boiled) tubi tubi sungkoi nasi
Hou se bori ramin rumin rumin
Have ogi agl aduhjadueh uni
Don't have do'-i matingjd agi (Bia nnah) anyap kati
Speak sinda miyu nyanda kasena
Cold mudud madud Bebi dinginjpanut
Day anu anu andu ana
Village Kupuo Rai s Binua Kampung
--- - -- --- --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
29

:-}ns
.: ' ng
.arne


. ' ar/
_ ld
.: not


- .;-au/
:-- t he
the
.
-
-
-
hat is the main reason for the Bidayuh in
3 ' t o have different pronunciations for each
_ . Vhen I served in Serian District as the District
- --=r in the early 1980s, I visited Kampung I<ujang
30g in Ulu Sadong. A Bidayuh elder there told
- .: rat it was true that the Bidayuhs spoke one
age a-nd one dialect in Ka limant an Barat,
- -nesia a long time ago. However, when they
.-at ed to Sarawak and settled down in different
::..= tions. The local different environment especially
:: di fferent water from the riverthey drank adjusted
=' r tongues and, hence, resulted the different
. .: unciat ions of each Bidayuh group in Sarawak
: 3. y. Another point was that t he differences were
:: 'n ly due to topographical ci rcumst a nces .
0:, embering that more than 150 years ago, there
-0 5 hardly any road existed in the Bidayuh rural areas,
---= only means of travel was using the jungle-path
or riverine transport. The Bidayuhs stayed in their
own Kampungs, the ir dialects were also affected
through const ant contact with other nearby races;
even a spell of 100 years changed a language/dia lect
considerably. Anyway, the Bidayuh words in daily use
are still the same or nearly the same in most cases.
VI) Bidayuh Groups in Sarawak.
(1) Bidayuh Main Groups
In Sarawak, there are altogether thirty-four
Bidayuh groups' mainly staying in Kuchi ng and
Samarahan Di visions. Generally they call themselves
after the localities they are staying or aft er certain
event s or local incident s. However, there are six main
Bidayuh groups who are commonly known in Sarawa k.
The details are as follows:­
••• History of Bidayuh in Serial! • ••
No Name of the group District How the name being derived
:i) Bi sadong Serian Named after Batang Sadong and Gunung Sadong, the
main river and mountain 'in Serian District.
J) Bibukar Serian From the word "Kakar" which means "dirty and muddy
river". Eventually, it is pronounced as "Bukar", Bukar
is also the name of a river.
c) Biatah Kuchi ng From the word "Entah" which means "don't know" and
the word "Betah" which means "broken". Eventually, it is
pronounced as "Biata h'.
d) Bijagoi Bau Named after Gunung Jago i - the mountain in Ba u District.
e) Bisingai Bau Nam ed after Gunung Singai - the mountain in Bau District.
f) Dayak Selako/Rara Lundu Named after Sungai Selako (Selakau) in-Kalimantan Barat.
30
a) Bisadong Group
Bisadongs are staying along Batang Sadong
and its tributaries such as Batang Kayan, Sungai
Kedup, Sungai Suhu and Sungai Robin as well as at
the side of Gunung Sadong in Serian District. Hence,
they call themselves Bidayuh of Sadong i.e. Bisadong,
Actually, there were many sub-groups within the
Sadong Group.
b) Bibukar Group
Bibukars are residing nearto Batang Samarahan
and its tributaries. In the olden days, when their
ancestors migrated from Sungkung/Bugau to
Tembawang Rutoi and then settled at a new place by
the river near Gunung Sadong and built themselves a
long house. On many occasions, the river became dirty
and muddy as a result of the crossings made by wild
animals in the Ulu. Since the dirty/muddy water was
. known as "Kakar" in Bidayuh Bukar dialect, the river
was known as Sungai Kakar and eventually it was
pronounced as Sungai Bukar. Hence, the Bidayuh
staying in the area now call themselves Bibukar.
c) Biatah Group
As far as the word "Biatah" is concerned, it
has three versions:­
First Version
The first version was that "Biatah" was the
name of one of the descendants ofTenabi, the
first man and the first Land Dayak (Bidayuh)
who lived on Borneo Island called "Atah". The
• • • HiS/DIY of Bida yuh in Serian •••
descendants of Atah called themselves
"Bi Atah" and settled down at a mountain
which they called "Si-Buran", Eventually, the
group was known as "Biatah" and the place
was called "Gunung Siburan" until today.
Second Version
The second version was that the word "Biatah'
actuallycame from a local Malay word "Entah"
When Sarawak was still under Brunei Rule, one
Malay officerfrom Brunei went to Siburan are"
and wanted to look for someoneto collect tax.
He asked the local Land Dayak whom he me­
along the footpath and asked where was S0
and so. The Land Dayak who did not know the
person but answered in local Malay "Entah'
which means "Don't Know". Eventually, whoeve
went to Siburan Area would say he wanted tc
go to "Entah" which slowly pronounced as
"Biatah" meaning the people of the area.
Third Version
According to Pemanca Kudui ak. Suwed
_
0':
Siburan, a long time ago when the first qrouc
of Land Dayak (Bidayuh) migrated from Raba
Mikabuh to Gunung Siburan, they saw a b':
stone at the present site of Kampung Sintah
They heard voices from inside the stone. Whe ­
the stone was broken (in Bidayuh dialect ­
"Batu Betah"), they saw a couple (Man a
Woman) in it. The Bidayuhs from Rab a
Mikabuh calledthem "Bi Betah" which literal
means "Peoplefrom the broken stone". Slowh
it was pronounced as "Biatah" until today.
: .. ' .
mselves 31
-o unt ain
__ally, the
- e place

8iatah"
Entah".
-.r le, one
_' an area
ect tax.
ne met
.vas so
-CJ W the
:ntah"
oever
- ":ed to
- :ed as
of
_"
=,abak
? big
> :tah.
-: Nhen
: .ect ­
- and
: sbak

. : /Vly,
'jagoi Group
:" ;agoi originally came from Gunung Bratak,
settlement where the Bidayuhs who first
- :e d from Sungkung in Kalimantan Barat ,
" = " 3 and settled down there, The Bijagoi moved
_ _119 Jagoi from Bung Bratak sometime in early
. order to avoid atta cks by Skrang Ibans from
-- en Division (Second Division) . The Bijagoi
I n the top of Gunung Jagoi whi ch is 1,162
: : ove sea level. Eventually, the Bidayuhs who
.0 ::aying at Gunung Jagoi and it s surrounding
called themselves "Bijagoi" , the people of
, _ Jagoi until today.
Bi si ngai Group "
-unung Singai which is 1,843 feet above sea­
.0 is the home of all the Bisingai in Bau and
Districts. Th e word "Singai" was taken from
: - ? e of Panglima Ma Ganai @ Rangai who was
, =' st Panglima (Togung) who led his followers
- Sungkung to Gunung Singai. At first, the
__-=:ain was known as "Dorod Ganai" and eventually,
25 pronounced as "Do rod Singai" until today.
- :':= . ' the Bidayuhs who are staying around Do rod
:- ;0"call themselves Bisingai.
Selakau (Selako)jRara Group
In the past, Selakau/Rara did not belong to
_ 8idayuh community. However, with effect from
- s, they have been classified under the Bidayuh
_ _ because of political reasons. There are not many
c/ Rara in Sarawak and they are only found in
Lundu Di strict. In the olden days, the ancestors of
Selako lived at Gajing Mountain and Sengkuku area
which are sit uated at the source of Selako (Selakau)
River near Sengkawang. Selako mig rated to Sarawak
somet ime in 1800s and stayed around Pasir River
and Kayan River. The Rara came from Benkayang
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia at the later stage and
they first settled down at Redang Raya in the Uppe r
Pasir Rive r in Lundu Di strict. Today, the re are many
inter-marriages whi ch t ake place between Selako and
Rara in Lundu Di strict. TheSelako is actually bringing
the name of "Sekalo (Selakau)" from Selakau River in
Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia and used it as the name
of Selako (Selakau) race in Sarawak.
(2) All Bidayuh Groups
In 1846, Hugh Lowin hi6 book" Sarawak - Its
Inhabitants and Production" stated t hat there were
21 Bidayuh t ribes who settled in the 29 villages
consisting of 1,500 families/houses and wit h a
population of 10,500. Of these tribes, 6 had their
villages on the western branch and the remainder on
the southern stream of the Sarawak River (Low p.290­
291). According to Henry Ling Roth in his book "The
Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo"(Vol. 1)
published in 1896, the main Bidayuh settlements were
as follows:­
(1) Upper Sarawak River (4 settlements)
Aup, Surambau (Serembu), Singgie (Singai) and
Sow (Sauh)
(2) Lundu Territory (2 settlements)
Sela ka /Rara (Selakau/Lara) and Sedumak
(Sedemak).
• •• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
3 2 . ~ . _
(3) Left- ha nd branch of Sarawak River (9 (4) Up per Sam arahan River (1 settlement) .
settle ments).,. Bukar
Sampro (Peroh), Sentah (Sintah) , Sennah
(Ann ah Rais) (5) Upper Sadong River (4 settlem ent s).
Si mpoke (Simpo k), Sig u (Benuk) , Brang Engrat (Ming rat/Ngarat) , En gkrok (Engkeroh),
(Braang) . Kadup (Kedup) and Mi likin.
St ang (Sit an g), Te bia (Tibi ah), Sib ungo
(Bengoh) (6) Kuap River (1 sett lement )
Kuap (Quop)
Bidayuh beauties from various groups attending AnnuaL Harvest FestivaL in Kuching
••• History ofBidayuh in Serian ...
33
- 7 are altogether 34 Bi dayuh groups in Sarawak, The details are as follows :­

-
Di st rict Serian District Bau District Lundu District Sarawak
-
:::- "­ gro up
: n group
: 7:.: og group
-
-
: :3. ah group
an
=,: nyawa group
3'annah group
"ibiah group
3raang group
Simpok group
Bengo h group
Semban group
.:J
1) Bukar grou p
2) Sa mbat group
3) Mentu group
4) Sumpas group
'5)
Tem ong group
6) Taup group
7) Eng kero h group
8) Rii h group
9) Ga hat (Semabang) gro up
10) Su ntas (Sontas) group
11) Kujang group
12) Prangkan Group ,
13) Sangai Group
14) Daha Group
15) Tepoij Biannah Group
15 groups
"
.
1) Singai grou p
2) JagoijBrata k group
3) Serembu group
(Bi roi s)
4) Gumbang group
5) Tringgus group
5 groups
1) Selako (S elakau)
Gajing grou p
2) Salako (Selakau)
Sengkuku Pueh
grou p
3) Rara(Lara) group
4) Undu group
(already extinct)
3 groups
..
34 groups
-
: : groups
• • • History ofBidayuh in Serian •••
34
VII) Bidayuh Population in Sarawak.
The Bidayuh population is mainly found in Kuching
and Samarahan Divisions although small numbers of the
Bidayuh population arefound in every district ofSarawak.
In 1841, the population of the Bidayuh (Land Dayak) in
Sarawak was estimated to 6,792. By 1876, the population
increased to 18,379 and by1939, it had reached 36,963.
In 1947, they numbered 42,195. The increase of 14.2
percent between 1939 and 1947 was one of the highest
among the indigenous groups inSarawak. This considerable
increase had cast doubts on the 1939 enumeration, but it
was unlikely that many could have been left out in this ·
cou nt. It was thought that in-migration of the Bidayuhs
from Indonesia Borneo might have contributed to the
increase.
Between 1947 and 1960, the Bidayuh population
increased by 36.6 percent, the highest rate of increase
among the indigenous communities. There was noconcrete
••• History of Bidayun in Serian •.•
evidence to suggest that the bulk ofincrease was due to
immigration or to an undercount at the last census.
Inthe past, the Bidayuhs hadnot beenvery mobile
except from 1947 to 1960 period when some of them
prompted by the opportunityfor employment with a bauxite
company which began operation in 1947 moved to Lundu
District. Although there hasbeen no internal migration of
any significance over the years since they moved into
Sarawak from the Indonesian border, the Bidayuh
population increased substantially during the 1947 to 1960
period.
Based onYearbook ofStatistics Sarawak 2001, there
were 166,756 Bidayuhs out ofa total of 2,071,506 peopLe
in Sarawak. In term of percentage, it forms about 8.05%
of the Sarawak population or 0.07% of the 22 million
population of Malaysia. This showed that the Bidayuh was
the fourth largest racial group in Sarawak afterthe Ibans,
Chinese and Ma lays. The details of the population of the
Bidayuh in Sarawak from 1841 to 2000 are as folLows:­
Year
r
PopuLation Percentage
Distribution
Source -
1841 6,792 Henry Keppel "The expedition to Borneo of HMS Dido Vo1.2
(London 1847) P.206
1876 18,379 Sarawak Gazette No. 124 (Ku ching 1876) P.4
1939 36,963 Lee Yong Leng, "Population & Settlement in Sarawak (1970) P. 91
1947 42,195 14.2 Lee Yong Lenq. "Population & Settlement in Sarawak (1970) P.91
1960 58,000 36.6 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1970 84,000 7.7 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1980 108,000 8.5 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1990 140,000 8.4 Yearbook of Statistics 1992 Sarawak
1995 153,400 Yearbook of Statistics 1997 Sarawak
1999 164,500 Yearbook of Statistics 2000 Sarawak
2000 166,756 Yearbook of Statistics 2001 Sarawak
-
35
- .; o S due to
- us.
Alt hough the Bidayuh population concentrat es in Kuching, Bau, Lundu and Serian Districts, Bidayuhs can
-- nd throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak. Based on the Sarawak Yearbook of Stati stics 1980,
=' j mobile
- _and 2000, the population of the Bidayuh in every district of Sarawak is as follows:­
-: of them
- abauxite
-c : Lundu
- of
-: .ed into
-: 3idayuh
-- co 1960
__ : I , there
.: people
.: 8.05%
.: !lillion
_. Jh was
- -: Ibans,
- . ::Jf the
.: ,'/S:­
-
District 1980 Population 1991 Population 2000 Population - .
Kuching 35,041 50,147 63,943
- Lundu 8,512 9,278 10,717
-
-
Bau 21,120 23,413 29,215
-
· Samarahan - 1,538 3,138
"
Serian 39,538 42,851 49,117 J
:. Simunjan 209 284 307
-
Sri Aman 387 461 453
-
-
Lubok Antu 85 90 73
-
-
Betong 55 123 162 ;
. -. Saratok 69 91 134
· -
Sibu 512 1,471 1,505
. .
-
Mukah 41 136 157
_. '
-
Kanowit 28 58 57
.- . Dalat 14 30 28
:
Mi ri 1,101 2,753 3,692
- . ,
. J. ' Bintulu 142 1,338 1,923
· .
Tatau - 113 123
- Marudi 113 368 637
·
Limbang 106 201 271
- -.
· -
Lawas 40 116 168
. . '
· .
Sarikei 168 209 203 _ . ,
-
--
Bintangor 134 . _. 61 91
·
.- Daro 11 38 12
.
-- .
Matu
.
21 7
-.,
- Julau 72 88 80
- -
Kapit 69 196 274 .. .
· -
Song 32 45 69
- .
. -.
· Belaga 23 47 105

Asajaya - - 119
-
TotaL 107,549 135,595 166,756
: 91
: 91
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian .,.
36
According to the data of administrative districts and sub-districts in Kuching and Samarahan Di visions,
the distributi on of the Bidayuh villages and households in 1990 are as follows:­
Division District Locality Total Bidayuh Villages Total Households
Kuching Ku ching Ku ching Proper 6 392
3,643
1,414
3,777
1,490
5,890
889
17,495
Ku ching Ku ching Siburan Sub-District 53
Kuching Kuch ing Padawan Sub-Distri ct 36
Ku ching Bau Bau Di strict 61
Ku ching Lundu Lundu Di strict 35
Sama rahan Serian Serian Di strict 109
Samarahan Serian Tebedu Sub-District 19
Total 319
Based on the records kept by District Offi ce,
Kuching, Bau, Lundu and Serian, there were a total
of 335 Bidayuh Kampungs in Kuching and Samarahan
Divisions in the year 2002. The details are as follows:­
1. Kuching District 96 Kampungs
2. Bau District 63 Kampungs
3. Lundu District 41 Kampungs
4. Serian District 135 Ka mpungs
Total 335 Kampungs
VIII) Superstitious Beliefs and Gawai of the
Bidayuhs
In olden days, Bidayuhs believed in the
t raditionaland superstitious omen and belief. To them
the re was a danger from all sorts of evil spirits who
could cause sickness or misfortune. They could be
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •• ,
guarded against either bytaking care not to provoke
them; or having provoked them, by taking ste ps to
placate them, whic h was done by means of a ceremony
or feast, called "Gawai". There were the refore various
rules laid down t o prohibit the acts that gave
provocation. Some of thes e rules, such as the
observan ce of periods of restriction after festivals or
after deaths , were common to all villages. Those
periods of restriction varied considerably, but were
usually from one to fou r days. During this t ime no
one was allowed either to leave or enter the village.
However, the more important festivals with the
longer periods of restriction were invariably arranged
at a time when the re was no urgent workto be done
in the farms. There were also rules in some villages
that sleeping mats might not be washed, and that
clothing might not be hung outside the housesduring
the period of a festiva1 as it was believed that the
good spirits which had been called down to help the
people might" be offended.
37
Divisions,
useholds
-2

-!4
. - 7

-

-9 5
. - provoke
; steps to
:. .erernony
various
:- at gave
-- as the
es tivals or
Those
: t were
_:i me no
- : vi llage.
_ it hthe

done
-
: - j that
- - .iurinq
-:'- 3t the
-7.Dt he
=. addition to action which human beings
:. : ::! ke to ward off misfortune there were also
- ::'ons of non-human agents, especially various
- of birds, to be taken int o considerat ion. One
.=heard calling from the side of the footpath,
-..: : -= d that the bearer would be lucky on that
- ereas if it flew across the track whoever saw
- : immediately return home. The same bird, if _. -l
ring a hunting expedition to the left was all
: : ut if it was heard to the right the hunters
change direction to put it on the left. Another
=I eard while hunting was a sign that the party
_ - ret urn for reinforcement. A certain insect, if
: at night when sheltering in the jungle on a
expedition, was a sign that the hunte rs
_.:. proceed in that direction. The same insect if
ing Gawai at Kampung Batu Keron on 15-6-1967
heard repeatedly when people were about to build a
new house was an indication that the women who
lived there would have plenty of children, but the
people would also be liable to more sickness. If the
I<ijang, or barking deer, was heard on land which was
about to be cleared for farming, that land should be
abandoned. To some extent these omen birds and
animals could be prevented from act ing.
The most usual way to deal with the m was t o
placate them by giving them offerings at festivals,
and at the same time calling upon good spirits,
especially the spirits of ancestors, to drive themaway.
If, in spite of such precautions, they still managed
t o cause trouble, either the project in question should
be abandoned, or if this was impracticable such as
in the case of a nearly completed new
lonqhouse. then once again they should be
placated by means of suitable offerings and
ceremonies.
Dreams were also believed to have
significance, though they were not
considered to be valid if likely to have been
influenced by one's recent actions before
going to sleep. For instan ce, a dream in
which one was laughing means bad news:
but this would not apply if one had j ust
spent a riotous evening at a festival. Aview
from a mountain-top signifies success, and
to dream that one was carrying a dead cock
indicated success in hunting. To dream of a
fire breaking out meant that an epidemic
would strike the village: a ripe fruit falling
from a tree was a sign that a sick person
was about to die. To dream that a tooth
• • • His/Dryof Bidayuli inSerian •••
33
Bidayuh Traditional Dance "Langgi Pingadap"
performed at Kampung Gahat Mawang on 22-7-1984
dropped off indicated that a member of the family
would die. To count eract this omen it was necessary
to rise at dawn, without mentioning the dream to
anyone, put a grain of maizeInthe mouth and then
threw some yellow rice towards the sunrise, at the
same ti me spitting out the maize saying to the evil
spirits "This is the tooth that you want, do not take
anything more".
As far as common possessions and common
dangers were concerned, the community also had
common means of protection. The most important
were the spirits of ancestors. When a person died his
spirit went to the place called "Sebayan", where
conditions were similar to those prevailing on earth.
The spirits were believed still ta king an interest in
eart hly affairs and could therefore be asked for
assistance. Thesewere usuallyinvoked in two groups:
firstly those of the immediate ancestors of all people
••• Histo ry of Biday uh in Seri an •••
_
attending the particular ceremo ny, who were not
mentioned by name, in order to avoid the risk of
omission which might cause offence; secondly the
spirits of ancest ors who were actually famous during
their lifeti me. These were by no means limit ed to
ancestors of any village, or even of the Land Dayak
race. The priest on his spiritual jo urney during the
ceremony travelled as far a field as Brunei and Java,
and might call upon the spirit of any famous person
of any race! So long as he led a good life when he
was on earth he would help the people then .
Apart from the ancestral spirits there were also
certain objects and places that might have acquired
power. These were called "Guna", They were usually
kept concealed in a small house of their own and
might not be seen except during a special ceremony
which took place only once in several years. Should
they be seen at any other time it was believed that
great misfortune, even a death, might occur. At one
village there were originally two large stones . After
they had been living together for a long time there
were one day found to be three small ones as well.
In other villages the skull of a wild boar, the skull
and horns of a deer, and a large block of Belian wood
were believed to have magical properties. The
existence of such objects within the precincts of a
village might be a major obstacle if it was desired to
persuade that village to move to a better farming
land.
The pagan Bidayuh had so much in their daily
lives to be afraid of, that it might be thought that
they would be ideal subjects for conversion to
Christianity. In fact they were essentially practical
people. Living in the present, '50 there should be no
39
ere not
::: risk of
dly the
_:: during
- ited to
- Dayak
r.ng the
Java,
-.: perso n
il en he
::: e also
:..quired
.; .s ually
j and
_:: mony
Should
:: j that
- -;:: one
After
- : ::here
....: vell,
: sku ll
ood
. _ The
:: of a
:Ho
ing

.nat
- to
-:0.al
- .; '10
=- =-=_al obstacle to accept a new religion if they
_-:: convinced that it would deal with their
':- :,=tter. They were likely to judge it by what
:: -:: ve, or by what its followers could b.e seen
- ::: abtained. This meant mainly education, and
_ - 2 extent better, medical facilities. But
vit hout economic progress might lead to
: :: :: int ment . An increase in the population
: r: a correspondingly higher standard of living
:: discontent.
"he spread of Christianity was probably the
-, port ant factor affecting the welfare of the
__- at the present time and it could be said that
- esult of having three different missionaries
among them had been entirely beneficial so
- .: many cases considerable disruption had been
.ss«: t o village life, for as soon as a few families
--= -" converted they separated themselves from
: -"in village and moved to another part of their
: - ilough they often built bigger and cleaner
_::5, t he split did not make harmony within the
- - _ility, but instead it weakened the authority of
: -::adman. The land could not be divided; and as
s : cess of converting a whole village might take
ti me, there were likely to be more frequent
. : ' sput es.
The Bidayuh believed in witch-craft connected
- ° s' ckness. To treat a patient, he/she was seated
--:: s.ving (Berayun), suspended by Rattan from a
' =- . The evil spirit causing the sickness was
- : .te d by means of incantations and dancing, and
.,:: ';:erred to a specially constructed boat together
_ : eit able offeringsto keepit happyon its journey.
° : :::: at is then put in the river and allowed to float
away down to the sea. If there was no river, a Rattan
was stretched from one end of the house to the other
end of the house, the boat was slid along it and
simply cast out onto the ground. (Drake-Brockman,
P. 29-35)
The disposal of the dead by burning of the
bodyappeared to be a custom confined to the pagan
Bidayuh in the olden days. In western Sarawak, the
custom of the dead was universal; in the Samarahan
area, they were indifferently burnt or buried, and
when the Sadong area was reached, the custom of
cremation ceased, the pagan Bidayuh of Sadong River
Bidayuh woman, Liear, in her traditional costume attending
a Gawai at Kampung Mentu Tapu 0100-8-1954.
••• History ofB idayuli in Serian »>­
40
bel ng in th e habit of
burni ng the dead. Amo ng
the Selaka uj Lara in Lundu
District, the bodies of the
elders and the rich were
burnt while the others were
buried (St, J ohn i. p.163
&1 65). In Siburan area, t he
paga n Si nt a h Bida yuh
burned th e dead of t he
higher class; the poor were
wrapped in a mat and cast
out i n the jungle (ibid ,
ch.viii. p.S7). The pagan
Ser a mbo (Serembu)
Bidayuhs burned all their
deads (Dension, ch.ii.p.14).
However , in 1950, the
pagan Bidayuh in Bukar area
still had t he cont act wit h
the Munggu Babi days. They
still use d the pagan
cemet ery which had served
the old Kampung of Munggu
Babi for the past few
centuries. The Bukar pagans
rolLed up t heir dead in a
st out rattan mat . The body,
th us e ncl osed, was
suspended from the branch
of a tree and left t o rot
away. Later, the bones were
colLected and put into a jar
for burial (Peter Howes,
ch.16.p.209).
•• • History of Bidayuh in Serian .••
Gawai Procession at Kampung Rasau, Serian in 1999
Bidayuh beauties attending Joint Hari Gawai ceLebration at Dewan Suarah Kuching
on 1-6,2003 .
41
_ 19
and Matters and Formation of New
mpungs
- - "! Bidayuhs look at land and the soil and
~ - .ne vhole environmentaround themwith awe,
. - and reverence. Land to the Bidayuhs is a
- ~ sustenance and of life. Even with the advent
'::::rIl development and advance economic way
= : e majority of the Bidayuhs are still living in
. ral areas where they undertake various
_ : -31pursuits. Accordingly, they perceive that
- : e treated with real care and respect. Land
==- utilized basically for paddy planting and
-: . : 2tion has played an important role in the
-:: itaqe of the Bidayuh community. However,
: :: I ' prove the living standard and the social
-.: of the Bidayuh community, the State
- - ent has developed the Native Customary
: R) Land of the Bidayuh in the commercial
~ - . C 1976, through the government agencies
-- - CRA, LCDA, FELCRA, FELDA, DID and the
-:':cult ure Department, large areas of the
- . ustorn ary Rights Land of the Bidayuhs in
~ - d Samarahan Divisions have been planted
~ -- cro ps such as oil palm, cocoa, tea, coffee,
. -- paddy.
- -:: reasons for the formation or creation of
: :::.'1 h Kampungs in Kuching and Samarahan
- : are as follows:­
- :-;:ase of population;
: -:" ce from paddy-fields or Plaman;
-= - ~ .s by the Skrang Ibans and Malay pirates;
: -: :r to bazaar / school/main road;
: : -::ad of epidemic diseases such as smallpox,
cholera and leprosy;
(6) Belief in different religions within the same
Kampung; and
(7) Difference of political ideology.
In normal circum stances, the Plaman
eventually became an official Kampung recognized
by the Government. Hence, a new Kampung was
established. The expansion in population in a
Kampung to such an extent that many of its people
had to waste long hours that could have been spent
in paddy-fields, merely in walking to and fro the
Kampung and the paddy-field. To avoid the waste of
time, a "Plaman"(a temporary house) was built near
the remote paddy fields, which was occupied
seasonallyonly. Village separation is in fact the desire
for better farming land and building temporary houses
nearer to their farming land and, at the same time, it
has given an opportunity forthe absorption of outside
group into the new Kampung. As time passed by, the
Plaman became a permanent structure and occupied
permanently. To distinguish between the Kampung
and the Plaman, the parental Kampung was known
as Kampung Mawang whereas the Plaman was called
Kampung Plaman. As time went on, the Plaman
became more independent and permanent houses and
even schools were built in some areas.
The attacks by the Skrang Ibans and other
piratesfrom the sea especially in Upper Sarawak (Bau,
Penrissen and Padawan areas) and Upper Sadong
(Serian District) had killed numerous Bidayuhs, took
away their wives and children as slaves and also
destroyed their properties. The constant attacks had
causedthe Bidayuhs to move away-from the Kampungs
and stayed in the hilly areas and even in the caves
. • •• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
42:.-­
in order to avoid being attac ked and killed by the
intruders. In the olden days, most Bidayuh Kampung s
were built in the rural areas where there were no
road, bazaar and school. During the Brooke Regime
and colonial days from 1841 to 1963, some roads,
bazaars and schools were built quite far from the
Kampungs. In order to be closer to the road where
Bazaars and schools were available, many Bidayuh
Kampungs moved and settled down along the main
road. That is why one can see many new Kampungs
are built along Kuchinq/Bau/Lundu Road, Kuchinq/
SerianjTebedu Road, Padawan/Tebedu Link Road and
Penrissen/Padawan Road nowadays. The spread of
epidemic diseases such as smallpox, cholera and
leprosy in the olden days in the Bidayuh Kampungs
was also one of the factors which caused the Bidayuhs
to leave the affected Kampungs and moved to new
areasin orderto avoid further attack of such epidemic
diseases.
With the introduction of more Christian
religions and the conversion of some Bidayuhs to
Islamic faith in the Bidayuh populated areas
especially in Bau, Lundu, Penrissen, Siburan,
Padawan, Serian, Bukar and Tebedu areas, some
Bidayuh Kampungs split into different villages
following their different religious beliefs. After
Sarawak achieved independencewithin Malaysia since
1963, political parties were formed and Bidayuh
themselves were divided politically. Hence, the
different political beliefs had also caused some
Bidayuh Kampungs to split among themselvesin order
to form a village with a group of Bidayuhs believing
the same political ideology.
••• History of Bidayuh in Serian •••
_
X) Comments on the Bidayuh Community
by the Europeans
S. Baring-Gould and C.A. Bampfylde in their
book entitled "A History of Sarawak under its two
White Rajahs" described the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs)
as a numerous and prosperous group but were reduced
to a small number due to the attacks by the Sea
Dayaks (Ibans). The men were slaughtered, the women
and children were taken as slaves and the fruit trees
were cut down. Paddy and other crops were burnt.
When James Brooke visited Sarawak in 1840, the
Chiefs of the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs) told him, "The
Rajah (from Brunei) takes from us whatever he wants,
at whatever price he pleases, and the Pengirans take
whatever they can get for no price at all" (Baring­
Gould and Bampfylde, p.57). The result of such
treatment was that the Land Dayaks (Bidayuhs)
escaped to the country beyond the reach of their
persecutors to avoid exploitation and slaughter.
Malcolm MacDonald, the then British Governor
General for Singapore and Malaya, in his book "Borneo
People" said that the Bidayuhs were the principal
inhabitants of the originalterritory acquired byJames
Brooke. The Bidayuhs were long house dwellers before,
but many had abandoned that form of residence. They
did it out of necessity rather than by choice. The
Bidayuhs were not a vigorous group but easy going
and peace-loving people. Due to these factors, they
became preys of their aggressive neighbours. In the
century of the slave trading and headhunting, the
Bidayuh longhouses were being attacked by the
combined forces of Brunei Malays and the Ibans from
Second Division (Sri Aman). The Bidayuhs being the
peace-loving people put up little resistance and this
h Community
ipfvlde in their
. under its two
laks (Bidayuhs)
.r t were reduced
.ks by the Sea
red, the women
t he fruit trees
) s were burnt.
in 1840, the
.old him, "The
.ever he wants,
':Iengirans take
: all" (Baring­
ssult of such
, (Bidayuhs)
of their
, .:lU ghter.
Governor
: ook"Borneo
:..-e principal
byJames
before,
_ .snce. They
: - ice. The
going
-: ::ors, they
- - In the
_- .inq. the
=: by the
. : sns from
. : cing the
:-= and this
'. encouraged the enemies to return whenever
. esired loots. Harassed, bullied and despaired,
=- cayuhs abandoned their homesin the low-lying
: -' and retreated up the rivers to the higher and
: :.2fensi ble ground. Ultimately, many built their
< near to the mountain tops.
Hedda Morrison in her book called "Sarawak"
- ent ed that there was some danger of extinction
.-=Bidayuhs before James Brooke became the
' ::0 Raj ah of Sarawak. She said, "The Bidayuhs are
- : and inoffensive people ... unable to withstand
. . roads of the warlike Ibans coming from the
ivision (Sri Aman) coupled with the brutal
of the Brunei Malay Rulers of Sarawak. The
-=' Rulers not only bullied and enslaved the people
. :,'-So had no compunction in allowingexpeditions
-- 2 Ibans to attack the Land Dayak areas. The
: - 5 kept the heads of the people they slaughtered
: nanded over the slaves whom they captured to
= Brunei authority as their share of the loot" (H.
'son, p.245).
J.F. Drake-Brockman who served as a District
"""'cer of one of the districts in First Division
_ - pat hized with the Bidayuhs who had been
: :-ressed by the Brunei Rulers althoug h they were
:. -abiding people. According to him the Bidayuhs
"Easy to teach and willing to learn ... Not lazy;
: r : not too energetic, always cheerful and easily
: : /oked to mirth. It is a great pleasure to work
- ong them". (Drake-Brockman, p.37).
James Brooke described the Land Dayaks as a
- re wretched, oppressed race. He said, 'Thouqh
..... ...
industrious, they never reap what they sow; t houq
their country is rich in produce, they are obliged to
yield it all to their oppressors: though yielding all
beyond their bare sustenance, they rarely can preserve
half their children and often, too often, are robbec
of them all, with their wives" (Dickson, p.186).
XI) Binua Tembawang Rutoi
Binua Tembawang Rutoi also known as
Sinangkan Guyan in the olden days was the original
village of Kg. Kujang Mawang in Serian District. It
was obviously the earliest and the oldest Bidayuh
village established in 1370s and it was situated not
far from the present Kg. Kujang Mawang. Tembawang
Rutoi was abandoned when the last group of Bidayuh
left the old settlement and migrated to Kamp ung
Temong Mawang in 1750s. It seemed that Tembawa ng
Rutoi such like Rabak Mikabuh in Penrissen Area,
Kuching was also the entry point and transit station
for the different Bidayuh groups who migrated from
Kalimantan Barat. Indonesia to Serian areas, Sarawak
in the olden days.
Kampung Kujang Mawang is now accessible by
a 3-kilometre gravel road from Jalan Tebeduj
Pangkalan Amo since' 2002. Perhaps it is a good idea
to develop the old historical and abandoned site of
Binua Tembawang Rutoi into a Bidayuh Cultural and
Historical Centre. Once developed, it will not only
provide a venue for Serian Bidayuh to visit, pay
respect and worship the ancestors at the original
home of the Bidayuh in Serian but also it will attra ct
local and foreign tourists to visit the earliest Bidayuh
historical site in Serian District.
• •• History of Bidayuh in Seri.: ...

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