Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Well, here comes the brand new year 2013. As usual people are making their resolution. So, how's your last year's resolution? How far have you tried your best to achieve it? New year comes and as usual I never have a resolution. What I have are targets of what should I accomplish this year. This year, not that much. One thing for sure is the progress of my study.
Last year I made 10 predictions on what is going to happen in 2012. I think I should consider myself as a fortune teller. I hit 100% accuracy. The 10 are:
1) The PM will be a man. - Yes, our PM is still a man.
2) The CM of Sarawak will be a man - Yes again.
3) Mr Barrack Obama will still be the President of the US. - this is my greatest achivement. He's elected for the second time!
4) The Mayors for DBKU and MBKS will be the same persons - YES!
5) Gawai Dayak will be on 1 June 2012 - another yes!
6) Traffic jam along Jalan Matang will get worse. - I don't see improvement due to the fact that Matang Baru road is upgraded
7) The SPM and STPM for 2011 will get better/improve nationwide - Yes SPM and STPM 2011 improved!
8) More "peaceful" demonstration in KL but none in Kuching.- Yes, never in Kuching
9) More firecrackers during Chinese New Year. - YES! even for raya, gawai and ordinary days
19) Christmas Day will be on 25 December 2012 - a sure YES
You don't have to be an octopus to make accurate predictions.
I hope it's not too late for me make my 2013 predictions
1) Our PM will still be a man
2) UMNO will still be the main party in the ruling coalition.
3) A few appointed deputy ministers will turn down the post
4) MBKS will get a new mayor
5) The price of petrol will hike  a few cents (after the second half of the year)
6) Traffic jam along Matang Baru will not cease
7) Perak will be taken back by PR
8) One major earthquake will strike Indonesia
9) At least one demo will be held in KL
10) Fire crackers will be rampagn during Chinese New Year, Raya, Gawai, and 2014 New year
Keep those in mind and we'll check next year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and Bidapud lagi...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Landmarks come and go...

Recently Kuching folks had witnessed the opening of the grand Merdeka Plaza, right in the middle of Kuching city (or should I called it the Kuching City Centre). It has changed the landscape of Kuchig especially the flow of traffic. Padang Merdeka used to be the biggest round-about here but now the road seems to serve the plaza. Coming soon is the 'old Kuching Plaza'. I doubt the younger generation knows the building. It is "opening soon" too. The plaza is given a facelift to make it one of the modern plazas in the city. For the sake of the younger generation, this building is situated next to Merdeka Palace, opposite St Thomas' Cathedral. What's the new name given to it? I think it's going to be Merdeka something.
The end of 2012 is also the end of Satok Market. The authority has allocated a new and modern site across the river, next to Upwell Supermarket. This place is commonly known as Kubah. The new site is known as Medan Niaga Satok (eventhough it is situated outside Satok). The ala Sydney Opera House building looks conducive. I don't want to dwell on this side of the story. We've heard arguments and counter arguments from both sides; the authorities and the vendors/hawkers.
On 29/12/2012 (the last day is 30/12/2012), I purposely walked around the market to take a few shots and chat with the hawkers. I know this place will be demolished right after 1/1/2013 to prevent them from coming back to do illegal business there. All those I talked to express uncertainties about their new place. A few said they have to move somewhere else, they included those who failed to get a place and those who are unwilling to move to the new site and are willing to move somewhere else. A man selling chicken and beef 'encouraged' me to take photos. He said after 26 years this place have to give way for other 'white elephant' project. A few asked me what newspaper I'm from. Well, one thing for sure is the 'scenery'. The new site will not be as colourful as Satok Market. The colourful tents and umbrellas are replaced by a building. The arrangement of the products will not be the same. In fact things will never be the same again. Words can't describe the difference. So, here I'm putting more photos instead of words.

Satok Market

the colourful cacti
attractive jewellery
imported fruits

fresh local fruits
ikan pusu (anchovy)

local kuih
fresh from the countryside

neatly arranged local fruits and veges

usahawan ikan terubok masin (uitm)
colourful canopy

 Welcome Medan Niaga Satok sayonara Satok Market..."Bidapud lagi..."

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Kinship in the Bidayuh community

Kinship is considered as on aspect of face systems. There are two aspects of kinship: hierarchy and collectivistic relationship. Kinship relationships emphasise that people are connected to each other by having descended from common ancestors. These could be both lateral (between siblings) and hierarchical (parents and children) (Scollon & Scollon, 2001).

In the Bidayuh community both lateral and hierarchical relationship exist with heavy emphasis on the latter. Titles use to address family members based on hierarchical relationship differ among the Bidayuh community. Basically, sequence (age) and gender are considered in determining the appropriate titles going to be used.

Titles for grandparents are purely based on gender. It does not matter whether they are older or younger than our immediate grandparents. Grandfather will be called "babuk", "babeh" (Serian), "babai" (Bau, Lundu, Padawan, Penrissen). Grandmother is "tayung", "teyang" (Serian), "sumuk" (Bau, Lundu, Padawan, Penrissen). In the Western community, gender is the only aspect considered; "uncle" and "aunty". In the Bidayuh community these two titles are complicated.They differ among the Bidayuh.

In the Bukar-Sadung (Serian ) community, sequence is considered first than gender is added to differentiate between an uncle or aunty who is older or younger than our parents. The one who is older would be addressed as "emba" and the one younger is "beje" [bŭdʒŭʔ]. The two terms only show sequence (older or younger than our parents), so we have to include gender to differentiate an uncle or aunty who is older and younger than our parents. "emba dari" (older + male) means an uncle is older than our parents and "emba dayung" (older + female) means an aunty is older than our parents. There are variations in addressing the "younger uncle" and  "younger aunty". In the Sadung community an uncle who is younger than our parents is addressed as "beje' dari" whereas in Bukar it is "amang beje". An aunty who is younger would be called "beje' dayung" (Sadung) and "ande beje" [andŭ bŭdʒŭʔ] (Bukar). "uncle" could be "emba dari" or "beje' dari" and "aunty" could be "emba dayung" or "beje' dayung". So, to translate "My uncle", we have to know whether the man is older (emba dari) or younger  (beje' dari) than our parents to get the right context. Similarly"My aunty" (emba  dayung/beje' dayung).

Bidayuh in other districts considers both sequence and gender to determine uncles and aunties who are older or younger than our parents. "somba" (or "semba") is used for older uncle and "noyung" for older aunty. These terms automatically show both sequence (older than our parents) and gender. We do not have to attach gender to them. Unlike the Bukar-Sadung community, gender has to be specifically mentioned to differentiate between them. Similar to the Bukar-Sadung community, only one word is used to address younger uncle or aunty: "tua'" [tuaʔ]. Therefore, we have to include gender to differentiate between the two. "tua' dari" (younger uncle) and "tua' dayung" (younger aunty).  To translate "My uncle" we have to consider whether the man is older (somba) or younger (tua' dari) than our partents and "My aunty" (noyung/tua' dayung).

So, Bidayuh in Bau, Lundu, Padawan and Penrissen use three terms; "somba", "noyung" and "tua'" (dari/dayung) whereas those in Serian use two; "emba" (dari/dayung) and "beje'" (dari/dayung). The Bukar-Sadung community emphasises sequence ("emba" and "beje'") and gender needs to be attached to the terms whereas other Bidayuh communities emphasise on both sequence and gender, especially the uncles and aunties who are older than our parents. They clearly specify gender for uncles and aunties who are older than our parents but simply one word for the younger ones, gender needs to be attached to it.

Besides being used to show respect to our immediate family members, these forms of address are also being used to show respect for others. The forms depend on the relationship of the person with our parents or grandparents.

Today, "somba", "semba", "babai", "babuk" and "babeh" are commonly used as a sign of friendship or in informal situation especially among men.

"Anih agah babeh?" is used simply to greet. In English it simply means "How are you/How do you do?". The word "babeh" has nothing to do with "grandfather". But...this is only suitable if they are more or less of the same age group. It is inappropriate if a much younger man greets an older man in such a manner. Women don't use those words as frequent or rampant as men.

I wonder why "tua'" is never being made fun of, Why? Is it because it refers to the younger ones and sounds very junior?

Bidapud lagi...

Sunday, 1 January 2012


It's been 3 months I stop writing. Well...this is because I was preoccupied with my study. I had flown to Malaya twice during the holiday. Progress is very slow.

NEW YEAR! Yes...time flies and it's new year 2012. So... what's our plan for this year? New resolution? New target? I've NEVER had any resolution. I prefer to take things one at at a time and as they come. I would like to predict what is going to happen this year.

  1. The PM will be a man.
  2. The CM of Sarawak will be a man.
  3. Mr Barrack Obama will still be the President of the US.
  4. The Mayors for DBKU and MBKS will be the same persons.
  5. Gawai Dayak will be on 1 June 2012.
  6. Traffic jam along Jalan Matang will get worse.
  7. The SPM and STPM for 2011 will get better/improve nationwide.
  8. More "peaceful" demonstration in KL but none in Kuching.
  9. More firecrackers during Chinese New Year.
  10. Christmas Day will be on 25 December 2012.
Well dude, how's my prediction? What's the chance of accuracy? We'll check this next year.

I'm also in the midst of reading articles on research being done on Bidayuh language. I'll put it in my next entry. Lots of surprises especially those who are interested in the history of the language.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 and "Bidapud lagi".

    Friday, 9 September 2011

    Two nights in Malaya

    5 SEPTEMBER. I went to a university to register myself as a student. I departed from Kuching I.A. at 4pm and arrived at LCCT Sepang at around 5.40pm. Off we went by taxi to the university. Our first very strange experience, I think this was abnormal to all of us who used to travel a lot. The taxi driver was quiet. We had to start the conversation. He said that he had driven taxi for about 10 years. That's strange, a quiet taxi driver. To our surprise, he didn't really know where the university is. Oh my God...we were a bit panicked. I've never been to the university before. My first u was in Penang, second in Shah Alam and this is my third, which is still very new to me (purposely choose three different uni). Luckily my friend who is with me has an adopted sister working in that u. She waited for us at Bangi Toll. We abandoned the taxi there. Of course the driver was happy because he didn't have to "deliver" his "cargo".

    We reached the guest house at around 7pm. Another problem arrived. All the cafes in campus were still closed. Luckily we found a shop in one of the student colleges. We bought a few packets of fast noodle, biscuits and drinking water. So, we got it through the night.

    6 SEPTEMBER. Our registration and briefings. This day was my day. My friend is from a different faculty but he was willing to tag along and listen to all my briefings. The first was the faculty briefing, at around 9am. It lasted till nearly 11am. Than we had to rush to the other end of the world to attend the centre's briefing. It was quite a distance. The briefing started at 11.30am and lasted till 1.30pm. Luckily refreshment was provided, so it saved us from hunger. I managed to get to meet and get to know my second supervisor. I failed to meet my first and main supervisor. We were assigned two supervisors. She looked friendly, I wish she's my main supervisor.

    In the afternoon, we went to the graduate management centre to register ourselves. We reached the centre at around 3.30pm, after going around the campus without really knowing where the centre was. Relieved, the whole process only took 10 minutes. The assistants were very friendly and efficient. Thank you.

    Well, after going through a tiring and hectic schedule, we decided to celebrate. So, off we went to Kajang, SATE KAJANG!!! We reached Kajang at around 4.30pm. it's still very early to fill ourselves up. So we went "shopping" buying lots of windows. I bought T shirts for my kids. At exactly 6pm we had our sate. 20 sticks. Wow! Tasted good, not enough. So another 20. 20+20=40 cucuk!. (exactly 20 each). We ordered packed nasi goreng. We decided to call it a day. We waited for the specific bus (going through the campus) but never arrived. At 7.30pm we decided to take a taxi. It was an old taxi driven by a young Indian guy. This was a typical "Lembah Klang" taxi driver; talkative, from politics to gangsterism. Gangsterism? Yes! Just a day before (5/9) a robbery had taken place in Kajang (it was on tv). A goldsmith was robbed. No wonder there were many policemen around. The shop was the spot where we were standing waiting for our bus. We reached the guest house at around 8pm. Tired, mandi and watched tv and ate the packed nasi goreng as our midnight supper. I was relaxed because my registration process was over but not for my friend. His faculty briefing was on 7/9. At 12, lights out.

    7 SEPTEMBER. We went to my friend's faculty. He attended the briefing but I went to my centre to settle a few minor business at the same time trying to contact my main supervisor. I registered for my resource room and graduate room membership. I walked around the campus looking for book store but failed to find it. I failed to get in touch with my supervisor too. More and more undergraduate students arrived. Very interesting acts, deserved to be "recorded". There goes my camera. I sat at the entrance of one of the colleges and snap snap snap. With my zoom I was able to capture shots without my "subjects" knowledge. I snap here and there for nearly two hours. The security thought that I was from the press (they couldn't stop me; freedom of the press) or mass comm students. I went to our room at around 12 noon. Watched tv and fell asleep. When I woke up, my friend was still not around, so, I went to the souvenir shop. I bought a few tie clips for my colleagues and a cap for my son. My friend only came back at around 4pm. Our taxi arrived at 4.30 and off we went to LCCT Sepang.

    Nothing much happened after that. We waited for our delayed flight. We departed at nearly 7pm and arrived at KIA just before 9pm.

    My two days and two nights (not 3 days) away was tiring but interesting. Looking at the freshies, I recalled my days, my first day at the uni. All those from Sarawak and Sabah went there all alone. I remembered spending a night at Bayan Lepas airport just to wait for the uni's bus early the next morning. Just to cut cost, we decided not stay in hotel. Registration in those days was done manually. I had to run up and down the hills and buildings. Filling in the different forms at different places. Well, after more than 10 years things do not change much. Students still have to run here and there during registration day. The difference is, now I have to travel the journey alone. As mentioned by the dean, the journey will be lonely. Everything's in our own hands. Actually, real life is the same, we steer and drive our own life. The shape of our life is in our own hands. "Bidapud lagi..."

    37,000 feet above sea level

    The guest room

    Well, you can guess

    "Ye ye my sister is in university"

    "You have to study hard to be here"

    Coming alone.

    Coming in full force

    The grand pa and grand ma

    The young one...full of hope

    The near expired one... hehe

    Friday, 2 September 2011

    River Cruise

    At last, after 11 years missing boat ride I finally had the experience last holiday. Although it was a brief ride, it was a very memorable experience especially for my son, who has never been on a boat before. It was quite a brief ride because the river water was very low due to the dry season. My cousin didn't want to go further upstream because at certain areas we had to drag the boat. As we went along the river, I noticed there were a few changes in the flow of the river. I noticed two areas whereby the direction of current has taken different courses. The rest, still the same; the rocks (of course), the sand bars, the landmarks and the best of all is the CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER. I could see the river bed (shallow areas) clearly.

    My son and his cousins were the ones who really enjoyed themselves. They rocked the boat from side to side as they shouted. They played with the sand, the rocks, small stones and even shrimps among the rocks.

    The brief ride reminded me of my younger days when the villagers were using "suah" or bamboo to push their boats. Going upriver, against the current was a hard task. Lots of energy was needed. Going downriver was easy. If they were not in a hurry, they would just used the "pengayuh" or paddle to steer the boat. So, the boat would go downstream following the current. But, my last ride was using a small engine, may be about 5 horse power (why horse is used?).

    It is proven that deep in me, I am still a kampung boy, could not be seperated from nature. I love nature; rivers and jungles. May that is the reason why I really love outdoor activities; camping, trekking, caving and mountaineering.

    Let's enjoy the experience...
    The ugly-looking engine but has served its master well.

    My boy, his cousins and grand pa.

    The deep part (lubuk)

    The shallow part.

    Common landmark- a place to put the "iju" (bubu)


    Having fun.

    Crystal clear water.

    My chilhood playground

    How long can all these last? "Bidapud lagi..."

    Thursday, 1 September 2011

    Tebedu in Memory...

    Remember my post about Tebedu? (25 June: Tebedu yesterday & today). That was the last time I could share whatever history or memory on the sleepy border bazaar. Last week we were shocked by the news that Tebedu has gone forever. It will never be the same again. I realised that I didn't have any picture of the two wooden blocks. Actually I wanted to share the bazaar before and after the tragedy. Alas, I couldn't do that. This shows that we always overlooked, unappreciate and ignore anything that is still well around us. We only realised our ignorance when tragedy strikes. For those who missed the news (including me) might wonder what am I bragging about. On the evening of 26/8/2011, at aorund 5.30 pm, the two wooden blocks were razed to the ground. Well, I don't have anything to describe. I could only recall the fond memory, the very spot I once spent my childhood, the place once taught me about survival of the fittest and the only civilization in the predominantly Bidayuh area. It was once an international trading post; Sarawak and Indonesia.

    Now, only sad-looking pictures could tell the truth...
    The fire at its height.

    The first block that used to greet us upon our arrival.

    The second block

    View from the other end, coming from the clinic

    Used to be a kettle.

    The last one standing.

    A bicycle.

    A fan

    A snooker ball.

    A signage.

    A torchlight.

    A ..?


    For those who have fond moment with the sleepy bazaar Tebedu, things will never be the same. "Bidapud lagi..."