Learn Bidayuh Bukar: Familial Terms

I don’t pretend to be a linguistic expert, nor do I understand the phonetics system. But today we’ll learn some basic Bidayuh Bukar terms. Note that the letter /ŭ/ is pronounced as in “urn” or “baron“. Previous spelling by western priests who first documented the language created the letter /ɯ/.

Father: Amang

Mother: Andŭ

Son: Anak dari (dari to mean male)

Daughter: Anak dayung (dayung to mean female)

Brother/Sister (Older): Umbu’

Brother/Sister (Younger): Adi’

Grandfather: Babeh

Grandmother: Tayung

Great-grandfather: Babeh alak

Great-grandmother: Tayung alak

Grandchildren: Sungkuh

Great-grandchildren: Sungkuh barak

Uncle (parents’ older sibling): Amba dari

Aunty (parents’ older sibling): Amba dayung

Uncle (parents’ younger sibling): Amang bejŭ (bejŭ to mean young or young adult)

Aunty (parents’ younger sibling): Andu bejŭ

Cousin (Older): Umbu’ tungar

Cousin (Younger): Adi’ tungar

Nephew/Niece: Anak buah/ anak adi’ or anak umbu’ (literally means child of sibling)

Father/Mother-in-law: Tuwa’

Son-in-law: Iban dari

Daughter-in-law: Iban dayung

Brother/Sister-in-law (Older): Ingka’

Brother/Sister-in-law (Younger): Ipar

In the past (and to a certain extent today), the Bidayuh do not address each other directly by name unless they happen to be immediate family born within the same generation, eg. siblings, first cousins.

For example, Mary has a son called Peter. Thus, Mary will be called Andŭ Peter, literally the mother of Peter. Children are often used as a point of reference.

If the person happens to be single with no children, they will be called by their first names among those within the same generation, or amba or amang/andu bejŭ.

It is generally forbidden for those one generation younger to call those above them by their first names.


Borneo Hornbill Festival 2012 by Warisan Sarawak

Keling 2012 Ricky Jores wearing the ethnic Bidayuh warrior’s costume (finally a Bidayuh won!)

Congratulations to the winners of the Kumang, Keligit and Keling of Borneo Hornbill Festival 2012 and the dancing teams this year. May the event run for years to come and be successful!

Kumang Bidayuh: Theodosia Elicia Wilrode (Winner), Jessica Go (2nd place), Magdalen Patrick Bejig (3rd place)

Kumang Iban: Gloria Jimbai (Winner), Suzzy Ramli (2nd place), Darwina Entaudu Maringgal (3rd place)

Keligit (Orang Ulu): Karen Laleng David (Winner), Esther Paya Avit (2nd place), Penelope Ering Laing (3rd place)

Photos courtesy of Persatuan Warisan Sarawak.

The Bidayuh of Serian: Sambat group

One of the 15 subgroups under the Bukar-Sadong Bidayuh of Serian, Samarahan is the Sambat group. The Sambats are one of the smaller groups among the Bidayuh.

Like the rest, they came from Tembawang Tampun, and passed through Tembawang Rutoi (the main original Bidayuh settlement for all Bidayuh Bukar-Sadong between the border of Sarawak-Kalimantan), settling at Rawan Mountain. Later on they moved to Tembawang Sambat, between Bukit Bukeng and Mapu Kejabu in the 1600s. They began calling themselves the Sambat Bidayuh. In 1820s, they abandoned the settlement and began migrating to find new ground.

Bunan Mawang – abandoned in 1964.

Terbat Mawang – Named after Sg. Terbat.

Tong Nibong – Named after Lubok Nibong.

Bunan Gega – Gega means bamboo bridge. Moved out after their conversion to Roman Catholicism because the pagan elders of Bunan Mawang didn’t want to offend their gods.

Bunan Punok – Moved due to the Indonesian Confrontation. The last group from Bunan Mawang.

Mapu Mawang – Legend has it that their ancestors came out of a hole in the ground. The hole still can be seen in the village.

Mapu Kejabu – Named after Sg. Kejabu. Moved out after their conversion to Roman Catholicism because the pagan elders of Bunan Mawang didn’t want to offend their gods.

The Bidayuh of Serian: The Gahat Semabang group

One of the 15 subgroups under the Bukar-Sadong Bidayuh of Serian, Samarahan is the Gahat/Semabang group.

Legend has it that Datu Merpati cut a roundstone at Ulu Sg. Robin, sharing the same legend as the Taup group.

The early Bidayuh migrated from Tembawang Tampun and moved to Semabang at Ulu Sg. Robin, Ulu Sadong (1500s). In 1790s, Sanggau pirates came and attacked the village. Before the attack, the Bigahat escaped to Bung Nyarau, then Red Tak Sebintin, then to Kuala Gahat and finally at Gahat Semabang where they finally settled down.

Sebintin – originally called Tembawang Sebintin Lama (1850s). Later on they moved to Mawang Tapang Ujan (1890s), Mawang Entuku (1905) before finally settling down at the current site.

Paon Rimu – They split with the group that went to Sebintin from Mawang Entuku. Means citrus tree.

Rayang – From the word ‘rayu’, saliva.

Lobang Batu Mawang – Sita-uh (1830s), Bung Miruwat (1850s), Mawang Gumbang (1880s), Mawang Tahas (1930s) and finally at the current site in 1976.

Batu Keron – Means the soil that isn’t good for paddy planting. In 1968 Batu Keron was abandoned and they moved, renaming it Batu Bedang.

Pulau Piranuk – Means mousedeer.

Sebangkoi – Bangkoi trees.

Seroban – Enkajuh Upi, Mawang Anden, Pulau Kranji Ichuk, Mawang Roban (attack by Simanggang Ibans), Lubok Pisau (cholera epidemic), Seroban, Lubok Jabam (unknown sickness), Pondok, and back to Seroban in 1958.

Payau Achau – Means deer. Moved due to Indonesian Confrontation.

Payau Berus – Moved due to Indonesian Confrontation.