The Bidayuh: Sadong – Bukar (Part 1)

This post concerns the first subgroup, the Bukar.

The Bukar is one of the 15 subgroups found in Serian. The difference between the Bukar and Sadong (of which the remaining 13 subgroups belong to), is geographically and a slight difference linguistically. Among the Bukar, language is pretty uniform among the people, while among the Sadong it is the mostly the same amongst themselves.

The Bidayuh were from Bugau (some thought before that living in Tampun Juah), Kalimantan. In the 1500s, they moved to Tembawang Tampun to expand and search for bigger farming land. In the 1600s they moved on to Tembawang Rutoi, in Sarawak.

According to oral tradition, in Tembawang Rutoi, farming is done by permission of the priest (the Tua Gawai) in an elaborate ceremony so as to get the best possible conditions influenced by the gods and spirits. Oneday, Tua Gawai Beh Tiih and Beh Ringah found out that the people had begun burning the fields without their permission. Angered, they decided to move away from Tembawang Rutoi. They eventually settled at Sg. Kuhas in the 1650s.

In the 1700s, they moved on to Gunung Sadong and built a settlement 2/3 up the slope.They called this settlement Bukar Mawang Sambu (Sambu meaning ‘up’).It was called Bukar because when the rivers flood, it becomes muddy, ‘Kakar”. From there the words evolve into Bukar.

Another oral tradition by the elders suggest a different origin. It’s said that the ancestors of Bukar Mawang Sambu came from Sungkung, Kalimantan Barat. They arrived via Tanjung Datu (the tip of Sarawak) searching for new land to settle. They settled for awhile in Santubong, then moved along the Batang Samarahan (until Pangkalan Gantang) and finally decided to settle at Gn. Sadong.

In the 1780s, a group broke away a created a settlement in Bukar Ta’ee (Munggu Babi).

In the 1790s, another group broke away and settled at Sg. Kakeng (Kampung Kakeng).

In the 1800s, the villagers abandoned Bukar Mawang Sambu and moved to the foot of Gn. Sadong. They called it Kampung Lanchang Mawang (Lanchang = swift running water)

Click here for Part 2.

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