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Home Dayaknese people from time to time Dayaknese Women DAYAK WOMAN, WHO AND WHAT ARE THEY? - Page 2


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Fact from history indicates that we, Dayak woman, since the beginning has received the confidence to decide our own attitude and action in living the daily life. As the proof, please visit the city of Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan. There, numerous names of Dayak woman predecessor are honored and used as the names of roads.

Attitude and behavior of the Dayak in Central Kalimantan is very influenced by their point of view in giving the meaning to life. Besides that, it should be informed that the cultural tradition in each tribe in the region of Central Kalimantan is not really similar one from the other, there are some differences, either in language, attitude, rites, symbols and living style, but in general they have the same philosophy.

In general we do not demand much for our own desire. We are used to do everything on our own. Being used to independency, Dayak woman was not born as an obedient person. But we are not rebellious. We trust more the intuition , compared to the explication that we cannot be assured of its truth. If we understand well the explanation and it’s not the contrary to the mission of our life, our faithfulness cannot be doubted no more.

Here I am very cautious for not mixing disobedient and rebellious. Both have different meaning. According to Prof.Dr.J.S.Badudu and Prof. Sutan Mohammad Zain in General Dictionnary of Indonesian Language/Kamus Umum Bahasa Indonesia, the word rebellious means against, revolt, not willing to obey. Dayak woman is not rebellious, does not revolt or is not against. We choose more to be silent, if we are not sure of the thing we need to obey and do.

The value of Dayak woman in the eyes of tribe community is high. It is so high the appreciation of the tribe to its woman, that the dowry for the wedding cannot be considered as a light matter. Dayak youth are very protective and respectful to the tribe teenage girls. They cannot accept if there is a person that they consider as a stranger enters their territory and teases one of tribe’s girls. Harassing a Dayak woman is identical to harassment to the pride of the tribe and also identical to the challenge for war. All tribe members will be triggered in their anger and will move forward to answer the challenge.

Gender equality existed since the beginning in the Dayaks does not mean that the Dayak men are ignorant to the safety of their tribe’s woman. We received a huge protection and we know that the harassment of Dayak woman is similar to the harassment to the tribe. For example, the common practice in the Dayak society , during a visit to one of member of the village, the question should be asked: is there a man in the house? If the answer is jatun meaning no, it is advised that the visit is postponed until the man from the house return home. But if the answer is atun meaning yes, the guest can continue with request for the visit. This is a very sensitive matter, being reckless in this matter may lead to get the singer because of misunderstanding.

Be alert and cautious. It is a short info for guest who will spend the night at Dayak family. Guest is highly respected and will be taken care and served well by the host family. The kindness cannot be misinterpreted. If the guest’s attitude cannot be controlled and is considered impolite, it’s possible that the guest be expelled from the house. The reason is because the guest has disturbed the teenager at home so he is sent to the village head or customary leader so that he will be judged in the customary representative meeting.

From my experience as speaker in several seminars with Dayak as the theme, the question which was asked often by seminar participants was,:”Is it true that Dayak woman for the respect to the guest who visits their village has the liberty to sleep with the guest?” I am thankful that they asked, not accusing without reason or condemning in their heart. Usually to answer the question, I used no longer my anger since I am used to this most popular question asked by several different people. My answer is: ”It is not true”. Then, patiently I explained the situation of Dayak village in the past. The rest room was not located inside the house, but built in batang by the river. Batang or port is for the boat. If the guest needs to go to the bathroom at night, the one who accompanied him sleeping was the one who escort. Imagine, if the guest falls because of the slippery, fall to the river with strong current and should face a crocodile. Then who should be responsible? The road to batang is in the darkness of the night and also should climb down the ladder? I tried to give the answer with questions with intention to invite the audience to experience for a while the situation in those days.

The Dayaks respect very much the guest who comes visiting them. The respect is so high that there’s a special article in our customary law addressed to protect the safety of our guest. With this high respect and confidence that we trust wife and even daughter to sleep accompanying the guest. The presence of wife and daughter, besides for accompanying to sleep, is also for serving the needs of guest. The meaning of sleep and serve here is sleep in the real meaning. Serve means to assist the guest just in case the guest who rest overnight at their house suddenly falls ill or needs to go to bathroom. In this case, the guest visiting the Dayak village should be cautious in maintaining the trust of all villagers. Do not speculate and try to harass for the sake of guaranteed safety. The Dayak recognize the practice of mass amok or hakarubut. Hakarubut means being beaten up by mob. Usually it’s for defending the matter that they consider as the truth, or for defending the name of the tribe, security and safety of the member of village.

This information will not be complete if I don’t enclose here the gold and the meaning for the Dayak. In the language of Dayak Ngaju, the word bulau means gold but also means female genital part. Gold is the sand of heaven identical to the eternal prosperity and welfare. It’s considered a noble and glorified matter It’s not a coincidence that the word bulau has a specific meaning, noble and glorified. With this above understanding, in Tribe’s culture, the feminine genital part as the access of baby birth is considered as a noble and high valued, not as a mere object for releasing sexual passion The consequence of gender equality that’s been acquired since the beginning is the challenge for us to be able to prove that we are not a weak creature.

This has been proved by the woman of the tribe of Ot Paroi/ Ot Pari in handling themselves after giving birth. They live in the region between the river of Mahakam and Barito, as well as in Bukit Raya. They realize that giving birth is a routine event that should be experienced by every woman. The woman from this tribe loves to live and stay in forest . It is also the case at time of labor. The woman from the tribe of Dayak Ot Paroi/ Ot Pari prefers to give birth in the forest instead of in the village. After they accomplish delivering the baby, they immediately dig a small hole on the ground. In the hole they prepare mamapoi rabon , also known as rabon pari. It consists of several dried plants available in their surroundings. As soon as the smoke comes up from the rabon, the woman wrapping herself in the tapih , squatting above the hole to let the access of baby birth be smoked. They do the process until they feel the fatigue. It’s hard to believe, but three days after giving birth, usually they are able to return hunting the animal in the jungle.

A few examples of woman’s roles are:

A woman as Balian. Balian is a woman whose task is as a mediator and communicator between human and other creature that cannot be seen using regular physical eye of human Balian conveys human’s requests to the Ranying Hatalla with the mediator of the good spirit who receives special task from Ranying Hatalla to give guidance to human. It’s not every person, although with perseverance, can do the task and obligation of balian. Usually it’s only the chosen persons. There are a guidance of signs that a child might in the future become a balian, some of which are if a girl is born with the condition lahir bungkus , that means in time of birth the placenta is not broken because of the birth process, that the child is coming out to world well wrapped in the placenta. During childhood, the girl’s attitude and conduct is different from regular children and she experiences numerous events that seems illogical to her environment.

Role of woman as a replacing candidate. Son, daughter or child in-law is the first candidate to become leader if the Customary leader passes away. If the customary discussion decides that the first candidate is considered incapable or still too young, the right to become the replacement can be transferred through election.

In the ceremony of tiwah , when the rite of stabbing the water buffalo is held, woman also have their turn. The stabbed part by the woman heir of the salumpuk liau , is called pekas bunuhan. She has the right to receive the left thigh of the animal she speared.

From the traditional dance, the involvement of Dayak woman in the society can be seen for example from several dances.

  • Dandang Tingang dance. Joyful dance performed by woman. Dandang means the long tail of enggang bird and Tingang means the Hornbill/Enggang bird. It’s called the dance of Dandang Tingang, because the dancers perform while holding the stick that has in its end the feather from the hornbill’’s tail. This dance is from the regency of Kapuas Central Kalimantan, it is performed during the foundation of poles from iron wood for building the fortress also at the time the community working together in building Jihi Busu that is the first pole of Rumah Betang, made from selected wood and located inside the house building.
  • Galang Dadas /g’alang dadas/ ~ the dance from the regency of South Barito Central Kalimantan. Performers are all woman without limitation of numbers. The dance of Wadian Dadas or Gelang Dadas decribes how a traditional medicine woman is treating a sick person by telling bad spirits to disturb no more the ill person. Then the spirit of the sick person is ordered to return so that step by step the person will be recovered. The dance is usually performed during a wedding ceremony or during the welcoming a respectful guest.

At this moment the involvement of woman is every aspects of life seems to pass through a transformation. The reason is unclear and needs further research to find the explanation.

For the Dayaks, the life means an existence related to the self potential just the way they are, far from the act of pretention. The pureness of someone’s heart can be reflected through the eyes. The traditional advice said: The depth of the sea can be predicted, but the heart of a person, who can know? The advice cannot be applied to the Dayak. According to us, the eyes cannot lie. The good intention and someone’s good willingness are reflected through the glow of the eyes.

According to Dayak’s belief, everybody in one’s life has a certain task and mission. What mission to be carried out? It should be searched and found out for certain. How to do it? “Dive and swim” then search until one finds it. The self confidence of us, Dayak woman is very high if we found our mission of life.

Finding with direct experience permits our heart to be touched by love, love for our task, for the mission that is ready to be carried out. Not only sit and reflect, think and analyze theories. Also it’s not about thinking and calculating the profit that will be gained. Without the courage to “Dive and swim”, the only thing exist is a dream.

The Dayak prioritizes working with heart for the perfection of our own mission of life, not for material reason. Wealth is the mean to support the execution of the life mission. Being able to do belum bahadat and doing our mission of life, the blessings will never stop flowing. That’s what we believe.

Mission of life or the task of life differs from one person to the other. Doing small simple thing with willingness and persistency might be someone’s mission of life. Avoid evaluating someone else’s task and burden since mission of life is personal. All consequence and responsibility in the execution is each one’s personal responsibility to the Almighty. Mission of life is not always extraordinary or awesome. It is not for searching the fame. It’s a call to the soul that’s been decided since one is still in womb. Even though the mission of life is different one from the other, with varied burdens, but the reward that will be achieved is the same, it is the victory.

Victory is identical with the ability to hidup bahadat, and doing things we believe that goes with our mission of life. The responsibility of human in performing its mission of life perfectly is the absolute requirement that needs to be accomplished. To achieve the goal, the physic and spirit should always be clean. That way, we will have the redemption from Ranying Hatalla . The redemption is in the form of abundant wealth, like abundant harvest, business and hard work going well without significant obstacle and the illness is far from us.

Since toddler, we, Dayak woman was taught to be cautious in our word and promise. Every word said contains risk. For example if when playing in the river you don’t want to be sunk and die, we will not say buseng that means manjatu or fall.

Ela barangai bapander ! That’s how our parent reminds us that if we play with our friends. We also cannot laugh or give comment on the natural happening that we witness. For example, during our play time, we saw chicken ran after the other and had the mating time in front of us, we dared not to utter any comment or laugh about it.

This current era where every person is limited with time and burdened with task and work, it’s possible that unconsciously they scold the children who ate breakfast very slowly with rude works like idiot or silly. For us, the Dayak, it cannot be done because unconsciously the parent hoped or prayed that the children would be idiot or silly in the future. So, parent’s self control should be well managed.

A mother who put her child to bed , with manuyang or swing the child, even though terribly angered, should control well of what she says. It’s believed that the scold and blessing of a mother will become reality.

Another example is that because of uncontrolled anger, a mother cursed his kid with rude and cruel sentence and the curse is not impossible to be realized. For example: calaka ikau , and soon afterwards the kid had an accident. That’s why the Dayak respect their mother.

Prayer and blessing of a mother also tambi or grandmother is a priceless matter. Every child was born to earth with the mediator of their own mother. That fact is one of the reasons why Dayak woman has a respected place in the life of tribe. The woman is so valuable for the tribe that a woman who marries then changes her religion then will get a customary sanction.

For us, the Dayaks, male or female, promise is everything. Breaking promise without strong and correct reason has high risk. A person breaking a promise can lose his legitimacy in his environment and will not have the trust of others and it will last until the end of his life.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 13:57  



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