Julia Anak Jawi (left) from Rumah Galang, Kampung Menangkin, Sri Aman, shares how Mount Lingga continues to be sacred until today as the Iban deities such as Keling, Kumang and many more are still believed to watch over the mountain and Jampi Anak Ngumpang from Rumah Edward Mamut, Kampung Langgir, Sri Aman, tells of how his late father shared a story of a sickly young man married a charming young maiden who turned out to be a ’Bunsu Mayas’ (orang-utan).
This story was told by my late father. Nanggai was a young man who suffered from skin diseases and lived with his mother, Timong, in a longhouse at Sungai Karangan. Due to his condition, both were ostracized by the villagers as they were disgusted by Nanggai’s skin. One day, a young maiden came to his hut and persuaded him to marry her.
“Hello, Nanggai,” she said as she approached the hut. “Are you in? Are you alone?”
Nanggai agrees to marry her and followed her back to her longhouse. He was awestruck to see just how stunning the village was but has no clue of what lies ahead.
Folklore, legends and oral history will be featured on a radio advertisement in Sarawak called Jerita Jelu Siga Enggau Pengidup Bansa Iban on WaiFM Iban. A series of 10 three-minute segments on various wildlife stories and oral history were pre-recorded and will be aired via Wai FM. It was produced by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia Program with expertise from RTM Sarawak and is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia and The Enlyst Fund. The radio advertisement aims to increase the level of appreciation and strong sense of ownership among local communities living in proximity to orang-utan and other endangered species habitats. In addition it is also intended to create awareness among the general public by showcasing cultural association between nature and humans in the past and emphasises the need to preserve this unique oral history from deterioration.
The short stories were collected through interviews with the elderly longhouse Iban folks from the Sedilu-Sebuyau and Simunjan areas. The radio advertisement will showcase selected folklores from the books, Jerita Jelu Siga Enggau Pengidup Bansa Iban and Wildlife Tales and Iban Myths from Sabal and Gunung Lesong produced by WCS. More stories can be found in the book.
The program will be broadcasted in the Iban language and aired from July 2021 to December 2021 on a weekly basis, every morning at 7:00 am. The general public are encouraged to listen to these interesting folklore stories to shed light on the deep connection between nature and humans.
The Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to preserve four priority species – orang-utans, sharks and rays, elephants and tigers. Go to https://malaysia.wcs.org/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.