Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our traditional costumes, through my amateur lense (Part II)

Salaam, readers.

Kunjungan buat kali pertama ke negeri Sarawak pada tahun 2010 telah memberikan saya peluang untuk melihat keunikan dan kepelbagaian etnik di Negeri Bumi Kenyalang ini. Tempat pertama yang saya lawati ialah Rumah Kebudayaan Sarawak  (Sarawak Cultural Village).

Saya masih ingat lagi pada ketika itu tarian pertama yang saya lihat ialah tarian tradisi kaum Bidayuh. Dance performers keep traditional Bidayuh culture and costume alive through shows in this unique cultural village. Bunyi gong yang melatari persembahan tarian para penari sangat mengujakan. Bunyi gong bukanlah merupakan sesuatu yang asing bagi saya kerana di negeri kelahiran saya, Sabah, alat muzik ini sangat popular. Mungkin kerana didorong oleh sifat mencintai irama tradisional (yang begitu menebal dalam diri) menyebabkan kepala dan kaki saya turut bergoyang bersama-sama mengikut paluan gong! 

In my previous entry, I said that in this next section I was going to talk about what it is that I find so attractive and compelling about traditional attire. However, I find that it is hard to do that without at least attempting to define what I mean by ‘traditional attire’.  A traditional costume/attire represents the culture and pride.  It also tells about the people, how they shape their culture based on their climate. In Borneo Island, even though Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan are separated by borders, the cultures and traditions of the communities living on this island have created a bond shared for generations.  

So, shall I proceed with Bidayuh ethnic traditional attire? I take it as a yes! I may not be the best person who can be cited as a ‘main reference’ regarding on this subject matter. But, I hope this ‘knowledge sharing session’ will be meaningful to you. All information contained herein were obtained through literature review, small scale research, websites, and through the annually held Borneo Hornbill Festival event.

So, here it goes..

The jungle of Borneo, to the early Bidayuh, was their ‘beautiful paradise.’  They obtained most of their daily needs from the jungle.  They hunted in the jungle.  They cleared the jungle for farming.  This is a sort of attraction towards the event a reflection of their close relationship with the jungle and its inhabitants.  This is an adaptive strategy or a strategy of survival.

Kaum Bidayuh adalah masyarakat yang mendiami kawasan barat daya Sarawak, terutamanya Bahagian SerianKuching dan di barat Kalimantan. Walaupun pada umumnya digolongkan di bawah satu rumpun sebagai “kaum Bidayuh” namun dialek yang dituturkan mungkin akan sedikit berbeza di antara satu bahagian dengan bahagian yang lain. Mereka terdiri daripada empat pecahan etnik iaitu:

(i)                Selakau/Lara (Daerah Lundu)
(ii)             Jagoi/Singai (Daerah Bau)
(iii)           Biatah (Daerah Kecil Padawan)
(iv)           Bukar/Sadong (Daerah Serian)
(v)             Kuching Tengah / Bidayuh Baru / Bidayuh Moden (Kawasan Tengah Antara Padawan Dengan Bau)

Though in the past, the traditional costumes of the Bidayuh were made of the soft inner barks of trees, in recent years, this have been replaced with cotton costumes. This basic costume has several variations according to the sub-groups of the Bidayuh.

Secara general, dari segi pemakaian, warna hitam, putih, kuning dan merah adalah warna utama di kalangan masyarakat Bidayuh. Daripada pandangan amatur saya, apabila sebut saja Bidayuh, dalam fikiran saya,  “Topi/Penutup kepala!” Tapi itu dulu, sekarang lain sudah. Ear-to-ear smile (-:

The principal article of dress amongst the women is the ‘jomuh’ or a short petticoat. Necklaces made of beads and the armlets of shell are the common ornaments. In some areas, for instance, in the right tributary of Sg. Sadong in Serian District and in the upper reaches of Sg. Sarawak Kiri and Sg. Sarawak Kanan, copper bangles ‘sarim’ are worn on the legs from the knees downward. In some villages, they also wear copper bangles on their arms and forearms as well. These are called ‘tankis’. They wore these ‘sari’ or ‘tankis’ for status symbol and protection. Girdles of silver coins and coils of fine red and black rattans are commonly worn. In some villages, however, broad belts called ‘sodar’ are also worn.

The sleeves can be long, three quarter, short or even sleeveless. While the sarong can be long like a maxi or short, (the shortest is slightly above the knees). The sarong is usually decorated with laces and trims from India and can be embroided with beads. The uses of beads in the Bidayuh costume are not as distinctive as in the Orang Ulu costume.
However, nowadays, the female Bidayuh costume has gone through some small and ideal modernization. The Bidayuh costume had been reinvented by the modern Bidayuh women after the British colonization era, to make it more convenient, comfortable and fashionable in the modern era nowadays. Before the innovation, Bidayuh ladies are only wearing a dark cloth which is tucked above the chest to form a tube dress (kemban), or merely wear sarong (topless). They also had brass coiled tightly around their calves as a beauty trend. Their hairs were always tied up neatly into a bun (sanggul).

Male Bidayuh traditional costume comprises the loincloth, or locally called ‘chawat’, a vest that is made of the inner bark of trees, head band which is usually red or black in colour and some accessories. However, nowadays, this kind of costume is only worn by the Bidayuh men during performing the ritual or traditional dance and Keling contest. Keling contest is like a Dayak ‘beauty peagent’ contest for men. The name of the contest is derived from a love story of a legendary handsome man named Keling, who married a beautiful and talented maiden named Kumang.

The everyday dress of men consists of a long loin-cloth called ‘tawuo’ or ‘tahup,’ which is wrapped tidily around the body with one end hanging down in front and the other end hanging down behind. It is usually made of blue cotton cloth with red, blue and white band at the end. So, loincloth, huh? Maksud saya chawat. Many may think that—like the loincloth itself – a paper on the loincloth ought to be brief and cover only the essentials. Yet just as we wear clothes for more reasons than mere utility, and dress decorates as much as it hides, the subject of the loincloth furnishes an occasion for remarks on history, culture, and psychology. Logically speaking, orang dulu mana ada pakai seluar, kan? They also wear the headgear ‘burang sumba,’ which is made of a red cloth with a narrow border of golden lace. Some men, however, prefer to wear the blue headgear ending in three broad bands of red, blue and white. Generally, men have no ornaments on their bodies except for the armlets kima and an occasional earring. Akhir sekali, kain lilit kepala pula adalah pelengkap hiasan kepala kaum lelaki masyarakat ini.

There you go..fuhhh! Sarawakian friends, kalau ada salah tulis, bantu saya ya. Saling membantu antara satu sama lain adalah perkara yang mulia. Gitu!

All in all, I can see there are still many Malaysians who do not know how the Bidayuh costumes look like, or cannot differentiate it with the other ethnics’ costume.  So, maybe these photos below could shed some lights.

Much love, readers!

Borneo Hornbill Festival 2013 (Closed-door judging)

Click HERE for more pictures.

(1) The Loincloth of Borneo
(2) Eye on Borneo's Blog
(3) Paren Nyawi's Blog
(4) Attorney General's Chambers
(5) Sarawak, More Than The Limitation
(6) Wikipedia


Collin Maltizores said...

thank q bcoz try to expose bidayuh costumee... btw IT looking gud bcoz biar urg tahun bahawa sARAWAK have multiracial n etnhic kostume..n bangga sangat hehehe

Syed Wazien said...

Beautiful costumes, I admire the Bidayuh people's craftmanship in making them. You can see the undying cultural art that is embedded within the raiment.