Thursday, November 29, 2007

Now I tell you about my Aki Lakam aka Stanislaus Belayong ak Ju

Apart from my dad, the other man in my childhood years who touched my life was my maternal grandpa, whom we affectionately called Aki Lakam. How the name came about I do not know, cos his real name is Belayong ak Ju. The Stanislaus part was given while he was at death's door - yes, he was baptised as he was dying. Aki Lakam had a rugged, craggy face, he was tall, fair-skinned and altogether a very attractive man. He had bungai terong tattoos on his neck, shoulders and upper back. Other tattoos covered many parts of his body.He had pierced, elongated earlobes that I used to poke and pull.

Aki Lakam came from Sg Sut, Kapit. Now his longhouse is headed by TR Isa. According to my mom, Aki Lakam was a fearless headhunter and to this day his "trophies" are still hanging at his longhouse. As was the custom of the Ibans in those days, young men went on a "bejalai", that legendary journey to seek fame and fortune. They travelled far and wide and their wandering took them many years away from home. Some never came back, rather they got married and settled in their new "menua". When they came back, it was customary to bring the tajau, bronze items, cannons, whatever items of value in those days, cos those purchases were testimonies to their success in ngiga nama ngiga reta.

Aki Lakam was no different. His wandering took him to Anap, Tatau, a district in present day Bintulu. He met and married my grandma Sudan aka Brigitte Sudan ak Batok and their first-born, Dian aka Edward Jeli, was born in Tatau. My grandma Sudan was a descendant of Aki Berasap, another headhunter (I wonder whether they chose each other for compatibility considering they shared the same bloody background). After Aki Berasap's death, his descendants feared that his munsuh would take revenge and ngayau (headhunt)them. Thus Ini Sudan's eldest brother, Pasang, brought the clan to pindah to Niah. They first settled at Sungai Keriuk, and if you are familiar with Niah, Sungai Keriuk is situated near Ngu's supermarket. We still have relatives living there now.

Aki Pasang chose Niah as it was reputed to be fertile - it was indeed and still is - going by the abundant harvests of today - padi, sawit, pisang, buah, sayur..My mom, Jeburi or nama glamour Cecilia Jeburi aka indai Bulau and my aunt, Janggau or dua bali nama Perpetua Janggau aka indai Joe, were born in Niah. My mom was born in 1930, so she is 77 years old now. Times were hard, according to my mom. Their abode was a dampa. They had hardly settled down before the Japanese came and occupied Sarawak. Misfortune came to the family - Ini Sudan caught leprosy, a much dreaded and misunderstood disease in those days. Well if you read the bible, 2,000 years ago lepers were treated as outcasts, uncleaned, and such prejudice was apparrently still prevalent in the 1940's. Consequently, Ini Sudan was sent to the leper colony in Kuching. Two young girls were left motherless - by then, moved by poverty, Dian had gone on a bejalai to eke a living.

Mom said Aki Lakam tried as best he could to look after her and indai Lutong (that's what we call my aunt). Once, indai Lutong caught chicken pox and the sores were terrible. A cousin of ini Sudan, ini Mayang (I still remember the late ini Mayang, we used to visit her when I was small, her longhouse was at Sg Kara, about 3 km away from our longhouse), helped my mom to take care of indai Lutong. They stripped her and laid her on banana leaves. Soon indai Lutong was healed. However one misfortune led to another - this time they faced famine, lapar pungkang. The brutal Japanese regime did not allow for much entepreneurial endeavours common to those days - the cultivation of padi and other subsistence crops. My mom said they survived on sago, cassava, and whatever edibles they could laid their hands on.

Concerned for the plight of two motherless young girls, ini Sudan's brothers (Pasang, Narang) and her cousin, ini Mayang, persuaded Aki Lakam to take another wife. Ini Sudan was more or less "written off" - nobody knew how she was, nobody knew whether she was dead or alive,nobody knew how to get in touch with her and even if they knew, nobody got the means to do so. Most importantly, a leper was an untouchable and ini Sudan no longer belonged to the community. According to mom, Aki Lakam was not keen but pujuk punya pujuk, he finally married a woman whom his in-laws found for him. It was customary (and I believe still is, among some Iban communities)for the groom to visit the bride's longhouse a few days after tying the knot, in what is termed as "nganjung bini nemuai". Aki Lakam had to leave my mom and indai Lutong behind to send his bride to nemuai. As aki Lakam and his bride were leaving in a boat, Mom said indai Lutong started to cry and my mom had to carry her, piggy-back. They walked along the river bank to follow the couple and aki Lakam rowed the boat slowly, in tears, equally in pain at leaving his daughters. Perhaps the sight of his crying girls, or the lack of chemistry between him and his bride or his still deep love for ini Sudan or a combination of all these influenced his decision a few days later - he divorced his bride. Apai and anak-anak rejoiced, according to mom, and they somehow managed to get by.

After the end of the Jap occupation, Dian with his industriousness and pioneering spirit, somehow got ini Sudan home. By then she was healed, though deformed - well it was mostly her hands and feet. Laki and bini were reunited and soon my mom got married to my dad. My eldest sister was born in 1947 - tho in her birth cert, her birth year was stated as 1950. Indai Lutong also got married to a Shell employee, Simon Maja ak Guyang and they lived in Lutong. Dian got married to indai Piasau, a maiden from Ng Geremai Kanowit. My mom bore 5 kids, indai Lutong, 5, and Dian, 4.

Now back to Aki Lakam. He and ini Sudan decided to di ibun indai Lutong. So they went to live in Lutong. At the same time they also built a bilik next to ours in the longhouse. Then the Pasang clan had moved to a place beside the Niah River, now about a kilometre away from the resthouse at the Niah National Park, Pengkalan Lobang. Aki Pasang became our Tuai Rumah and our longhouse was about 40 doors.

While ini Sudan could adapt to and liked the new life, aki Lakam did not like to live in the city. So he came back to live with us in Niah and only came to visit ini Sudan and indai Lutong once in a while. Sometimes ini Sudan also came to Niah but for a short stay. Aki Lakam farmed, he built a langkau at his umai and hordes of his Batang Rajang relatives on their bejalai stint came to dwell with us. They were Jugah, Lugat, Maran,and others I do not remember. Most bore magnificient tattoos - bungai terong on their forearms, necks, legs.. It was my favourite past time to admire their tattoos. I would sit on their laps and traced the tattoos and they all loved it. Our batang rajang kaban inevitably went to Dian for help and help he did - they got jobs in Brunei, nyadi jerman etc..etc.. .

Oh, and by the way, aki Lakam named me Jumau - he said its a Batang Rajang name. He named my eldest sister Kunchi, my second sister Kerepau and my brother, Lugat. So now in our melancholic moments, we still call each other by our Batang Rajang names.

As he was getting older, both my mom and indai Lutong persuaded aki Lakam not to farm anymore. So he stopped farming, and instead he took a new interest which later on turned into a passion - he took fishing.That's how and when we started to connect - aki Lakam and I. But that's another chapter which I will write later. Now its time to pack, the three stooges are going to Miri tomorrow morning. Sebugey will miss the free breakfast I promised her cos she's off gallivanting to Kuching numpang senang with her husband.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Strange, but for Sebugey and I to think of our dads at about the same time

Aku baru udah macha blog Sebugey. Iya ngenang niang apai kemari at about the same time aku ngenang niang apai aku. Malam kemari aku laun mulai kediri ke bilik, nyau ka pukul 1 pagi laban nembuka commentary daily readings ke ka dikeluarka ba Q1/2008 issue of Imanuel. Udah aku gali, mata enggai tinduk, nyau kasak-kasak. Nya aku mutap kediri, ngenang diri ke enda tetagangka diri ngirup kopi o maya kami tiga ke nurun supper ba Kopitiam. Benung ke ka nindukka diri, aku ngingatka ari lima tu kami tiga ka ke Miri, laban ka sembiang ba kubur niang apai. Tu bulan sebelas, lalu sebulan-bulan bala Katolik sembiang ke urang mati, awakka sida dilepas ari api penuchi sereta diau begulai enggau Allah Taala di serega. Dia lalu enda berasai ai mata aku nyaya, sinu ngenang niang apai. Gamal iya agi terang dipeda mata aku, iya duduk enda bebaju ngena seluar tarit churak biru, megai gayung besai ngirup nestum. Tiap kali aku ngenang iya, sigi bakanya gambar ia pansut ba pikir aku. Tiap kali aku ngenang iya, tiap kali aku nyaya ai mata. Pun bulan tu kemari, maya aku gali ba bilik hotel di Kuala Lumpur, aku tekenang ke iya, ngingatka diri lalu bedau ngabas kubur iya.Tiap kali kami menyanak ngabas kubur iya, tiap kali aku nyaya ai mata, kadang-kadang enda tetembuka leka sampi, nyau dadi enggau bala anak nembuka leka sembiang. Aku sinu laban aku sayau amat ke niang apai aku. Nadai kami sebilik (kelimpah ari dadi n bala anak aku) nemu aku mengkang rindu (miss) ke niang apai aku dataika saritu.Aku semak agi, begulai agi enggau niang apai aku ari aku ke begulai enggau indai aku. Kebuah pia, ari mit kelia maya kami agi diau ba rumah panjai, niang apai nganjung aku sekula nepan perau ngena injin Johnson 20 kuda. Injin bechurak burak. Lebuh iya enda ulih nganjung aku, aku bedarat enggau bala anak kami serumah ke bukai. Enti iya ngambi aku pulai sekula, tua iya selalu duduk ba kedai runcit niang bini guntin makai cindol. Enti aku ka makai telu segala, apai aku meli ke aku telu. Enti aku ka makai ruti kachang lengak ke manis, apai aku meli ke aku. Udah aku tembu nyamu nyawa diri baru kami duai pulai. Selalu bisi urang nepan, kami serumah ke pulai ari pasar. Aku rindu duduk ba depan perau, laban rindu ngasaika ribut muput buok, tang apai aku selalu enda ngasuh, aku di asuh iya duduk semak enggau iya, enggai ke aku labuh ke ai ku iya. Aku nemu nyemerai ku aku. Gamal dik ku iya, kumbai enda bisi baya sungai niah ku apai.

Rumah panjai kami endur Paderi Father Knapen nudukka RC mission di Niah, maya nya taun 1965.Nya meh maya Krismas, mayuh urang ari rumah panjai bukai ngagai rumah kami laban Father ngatur sembiang missa dia. Rami amat kami, nyau belanda ke setak setak kami anak mit laban gaga ati. Apai aku selalu ngambi sereta nganjung urang pulai udah nya. Aku selalu enggau enti ia ngambi, laban ari agi tawas, kira pukul 4 lemai. Ia malam enggai iya mai aku.

Aku ingat sekali bisi rami sekula ba LA Batu School. Tuai (short for indai Tuai- that's what my children call my eldest sister)bisi pulai chuti ari Miri- Tuai diau enggau sida Sebugey. Tuai rindu nyait baju, iya bisi nyait ke aku baju gaun, short sleeves, polka dot burak, ba kain churak kuning. Skirt ia pandak, bisi cherut ba punggung. Kasut aku churak burak, kasut getah ke bisi betaul ba tengah-tengah. Naka pengelawa asai aku ngena baju nya. Nya meh aku tak kulu kili nepan perau enggau niang apai ngangkut sekeda kami serumah ke mansang meda pengerami sekula. Nya meh Tuai enggau Dut (that's my second sister) nganu aku, di kumbai seduai iya engketik aku. Ni aku beduli, aku seronok nepan perau, seronok ngena baju baru.

Mula aku sekula, aku di anjung sida iya ngagai sekula cina ke semak rumah panjai kami, enggau urang pre-school, umur aku bedau manggai 6 taun maya nya. Aku enggai sekula dia laban bala anak cina udu amat muli, nyau tetingkap belama kitai diipa ke sida ia kaki laban tesangkut. Aku ngaga kebuah tiap ari enggai sekula. Madahka Lapil (petunggal aku ke benama Raphael)nganu aku, madahka sida Sinam ngetil aku, mungkang ngunsutka tanah luchak ba baju, ngumbai diri terap ngambi ulih pulai ke rumah enda sekula. Aki Lakam seruran bisi di rumah, iya enda nganu aku ke enggai sekula. Indai aku nemu ulah aku lalu ngelunsin aku, di irit iya nengah jalai sekula aku lalu dilunsin iya ngena dan kayu ke mit-mit ke ulih dikeraut iya sebelah tisi jalai. Aku rauh-rauh nyabak, madahka diri enggai agi sekula dia, ka bakani kati sida iya ngelunsin aku. Apai aku lalu ngaum aku, aku enggau sabak-sabak besemaya ba mua iya aku ka sekula enti sida iya nganjung aku ngagai LA Batu School, ia nya sekula jaku urang putih. Apai aku nyebut au, tang taun baru ila baru aku ulih sekula din laban umur aku bedau chukup. Aku enda ingat bakani ke seduai ia indai - sekalika seduai iya becheregay pasal nya tauka enda, laban udah nya aku gaga amat, laban enda ibuh sekula agi.Ngamatka jaku aku, aku besekula masuk LA Batu School ba taun 1968. Aku kena espress class, nya alai setaun aja nembuka Pry 1 & 2. Udah ari keterubah maya iya ngatur aku masuk sekula, aku enda ngiruh apai aku. Aku enda minta wan sida ia, enda baka sekeda pangan aku ke di wan apai indai sida ia bisi seminggu dua.

Tiap kali ujung taun niang apai bisi enggau maya nyuaka perais ba sekula. Tudah pangan laban ke rindu macha selalu endar mai utai pulai ke perais English enggau Malay.Niang apai enda nemu jaku urang putih, tang meh iya ninga Cikgu Majid nyebut nama aku, maya nya madahka utai ke ditulis aku "good". Nya meh gamal apai aku gaga amat, kami duai betawing nurun ke perau. Datai di rumah iya lalu nusika indai, madahka Cikgu Majid muji aku "good" ku iya.

Ba taun 1969 kami pindah ke tisi jalai sepupuk laban udah bisi jalai alun. Kami ninggalka rumah panjai. Laban menua agi bungas, bedau mayuh urang, dia apai tak tiap malam bulih jelu - pelanduk, landak, macham-macham. Aku semina ka makai pelanduk aja, utai bukai enggai. Bisi meniga taun udah nya apai aku bepun enda pengerai. Ia bisi TB, angka tusah diubat kini maya nya. Nya kebuah iya enda ulih enggau urang gawa jauh laban ia selalu seput-seput. Ia gawa ba kebun lada kami ke semak rumah aja. Nya alai maya aku pulai sekula tengah ari, ia selalu nganti aku datai, ngemataka aku makai. Tua iya sama-sama rindu ngirup nestum. Enti iya udah ke pasar, iya sigi meli nestum. Mungkang digaga ia dulu nestum nya. Bedau apus tangga ditiki aku ke pulai sekula endur iya nantaika gayung madahka bisi nestum. Tua iya ngaga nickname ke nestum - "indai dadum". Udah aku tembu makai baru ia nurun baru, muai randau lada, mantun rumput, enti lada mansau ngumpul buah lada. Indai aku gawa ke umai beduruk enggau kami serumah ke bukai.Aku enda enggau apai gawa, tang aku muat gari, nyauk, masu periuk, masu pinggai, merus papan tanju, tangga, nyapu baruh rumah, udah nya nunu sampah ke disapu aku. Rindu aku nyium bau asap daun-daun ke di tunu aku. Enti aku ninga Lapil belagu (rumah sida Lapil ba seberai jalai), aku enggai alah. Laban rumah sida Lapil ba bukit, dia nyawa iya nyaris amat belagu didinga aku. Ngambika nyawa aku nyaris mega mekit Lapil, aku niki pun kuini ke ba tisi rumah lalu belagu meradakka nyawa. Lagu sida niang Michael Jemat, Penny Lily, Christopher Kelly, Anthonio Jawie, Pauline Linang, Hail Amir, Uji Rashid, D'lloyd. Meruan bisi bup lagu kelia. Kadang-kadang dirara niang apai aku udu meradakka nyawa, ee pedis pala aki dik apai Jubin ninga dik ku ia (nya Tuai Kampung kami diatu - aki Daud).

Udah aku nyau besai, bisi ga tua apai becheregay, tang ukai utai ke besai, keba aku enda ingatka batang utai ke laya tua iya. Ke di ingat aku, iya enda kala malu aku, muti ia kala ngisung nyawa aku ngena chabi laban aku nyebut utai kamah - p*** maya aku belaya enggau petunggal aku Nangan.Maya nya kami agi diau ba rumah panjai. Ngasi amat ukum nya, dataika diatu aku enda nyebut utai kamah.

Apai aku nyau suah sesuah masuk sepital, ujung ia mati kena 20 May 1975. Aku benung Form 3. Aku enda meda ia mati, laban ia di Miri. Aku enggau Dut & ika ke Miri, datai ba rumah mati sida indai enggau ibu aku benung masukka niang apai baju, baju batik. Kelia di kumbai urang baju pelitik. Aku tegenung, aku enda megai bangkai niang apai aku. Aku enda berasai tusah ati. Aku muti sekut dalam, enda sabar-sabar nganti diri ke ulih pulai ke Niah. Malam nya aku begulai enggau sida petunggal aku di Lutong, aku enda labuh ai mata. Aku enda sabar nganti niang apai ditumbak laban ka pulai ke Niah. Maya nya urang nyau ka begawai, nya alai ulit enda lama aja, di ketas sebedau gawai nyadi. Aku berengkah sinu, beraie ka niang apai udah kami pulai ke Niah. Dua tiga ari bedau gawai, bisi setengah ari aku lading-lading semak mua pintu ke selalu endur ia duduk nganti pemulai aku ari sekula. Seninjik taun nya aku peresa Sarawak Junior Cambridge, nya alai udah gawai aku lalu bendar belajar nyendiaka diri peresa. Pulai sekula aku enda bemain agi, aku ngaga homework. Malam aku belajar begulai enggau bala petunggal aku, minta ajar ipar Sinam (Tuchai) matematik. Kadang-kadang bemalam aku ba sida Runda, kadang pulai ga aku di ambi indai malam ari. Tuchai selalu meransang aku, ngasuh aku belajar bendar, ngambi datai ba universiti ku iya. Maya nya aku enda nemu utai ke universiti ku iya. Ari enam aku enggau indai gawa enggau apai Nangan, mayar tambang kereta kami ke sekula. Ari minggu sigi sembiang missa belama. Udah peresa SJC, kami dibai Father Knapen carolling ngagai rumah panjai sebedau X'mas. Malam-malam kami selalu nyempulang Father Knapen ngagai rumah panjai urang bukai, meri sembiang misa. Kami ke indu nyadi choir, sida ke lelaki nyadi altar servers, ngumpul sedekah, nebah gitar,nebah gerunung, macha ari bup kudus, nyadi MC. Siang ari aku rindang macha buku Women Weekly, buku jerita cinta (kenu ku jaku ini Sudan kami)ke dibai Tuai pulai chuti. Aku ngunsi macha. Udah nya kami duai sama macha Mills & Boon. Form 4 aku nyambung pelajar ke SMK Lutong, udah nya Form 6 ba Kolej TDTHB, Tg Lobang. Aku active ba sekula, main hockey, main softball, masuk kelab tarian, nyadi prefect, nyadi kepala YCS di Kolej. Malam-malam aku belajar bendar, enda enggau urang bemain-main. Maya exam aku badu private study pukul 11 malam, laban enda tau laun ari nya pulai ari classroom. Aku nyambung belajar dataika pukul 1 pagi, macha ngena dian, dilalai ba kutak ngambi Miss Au enda meda senawah api dian maya ia spot check kami ngagai dorm. Ba aku ke sibuk datai maya aku ka Universiti, belaki, beranak, beserakup indu, belajar nganta, aku jarang ngenang niang apai. Aku berengkah sinu ngenang ia lebih kurang 10 taun ke udah. Aku ngenang ke pengaga ia enti ia meda bala anak aku, aku ngenang ke gamal ia perenching gaga meda midul ke ulih bala uchu ia sekula bekerimbi ba jemari. Suba aku dikumbai Cikgu Majid good udah gaga amat ia, tu enti iya meda utai ke ulih bala anak aku, naka pengaga ia. Aku sinu ngenang ia enda makai utai ulih aku. Aku sinu ngenang aku enda ulih ngubat ia suba. Enti ia agi idup, enti ia sakit, sigi enda aku ngelakka ia. Enti ia agi idup, sigi bisi urang ngagaka aku utai laban ia bisi pengelandik jari, landik betukang. Aku labuh ai mata maya aku mai indai raun ngagai Italy taun 2006 suba - naka meh enti apai agi idup ku aku, sigi rindu ia nimpai bandar Florence, meda Duomo ba Milan, nepan gondola ba Venice, meda pemanah St Peter's Cathedral, meda tower ba Pisa.

Allah Taala ke besai kuasa, kasihka apai aku, ampun penyalah iya, bai ia begulai enggau Nuan di menua serega. Anang meda dosa iya Tuhan, tang peda meh pengerindu iya ke urang, peda meh pemurah ati iya enggau urang, peda meh pengampun iya ke urang.Kelebih agi peda meh pengarap iya ke Nuan, Allah Taala Apai. Let perpetual light shine upon him O Lord and may he rest in peace.Amen