Aug 20, 2012

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5 Things You Should Know About The Dayak – The Headhunters of Borneo, Malaysia


Malaysia is an exotic country — with a blend of modern and colonial buildings weaving themselves into high tech industries and ancient cultures. As a outcome, it is not surprising that Malaysia is listed at 1 of the leading ten most visited county on earth.

A single of the most fascinating items about Malaysia is the individuals itself. Here, we are going to appear at 5 factors you ought to know about the Dayak – a tribe living in the Borneo with the reputation for being fearful headhunters.

1. Dayak Were Headhunters of Borneo

The Dayaks were renowned for practicing headhunting, and had a fearsome reputation as a sturdy and effective warring tribe in ancient times. Sharing their properties by living in longhouses built on stilts, the head trophies had been kept in the longhouse as a sign of valor in battle and brought prestige to the conquering warrior.

The headhunting culture no longer requires place today, but the tribe was nonetheless known to be fiercely territorial. In 2001, the Dayak armed with spears, machetes and blowpipes roamed a market town in an Indonesian province in Borneo to drive out migrant Indonesian they claimed took up their jobs and land.

In much less than a week of violence, 200 migrants were killed. They had been either hacked with standard Borneo swords or shot with poisoned darts from blowguns.


two. Rich Culture

The animist Dayak ( the majority are now Christian) observe both Christian and traditional ceremonies, particularly for the duration of marriages or festivals.

Important festivals include the rice harvesting festival of Gawai Dayak, the bird festival of Gawai Burong and the spirit festival of Gawai Antu.

In the course of the festival, the Dayak gets with each other to drink rice wine called tuak and perform a distinctive war dance named ngajat (depicting a man going to war or a bird flying as a respect to Iban’s lord of war).

Visitors to the longhouses (or rumah panjang) are normally invited to witness the dances and took portion into the drinking the tuak ceremony with the headman of the longhouse as their host.

3. Singer-Actress Jessica Alba was a Dayak


Jessica played a Dayak in the 2003 Sleeping Dictionary movie by Guy Jenkin. Filmed in Sarawak and is set during the British colonial rule in the 1930s, Jessica played the function of a lady who sleeps with a young and naive Englishman, John Truscott (played by Hugh Dancy) who went into Borneo to attempt and apply his father’s function to the Iban society.

The enjoy story was built on the idea of ngayap which was the Iban way of courtship practised in the early 1920’s and ’30’s. Jenkins combined the story with the story of young Britons getting posted to jungle outposts and becoming “thrown in the deep finish” when they had to discover the neighborhood language in express time.

The film by no means went large, but received a number of DVDx awards, such as Best Actress to Jessica Alba.

4. Courting girls at evening (ngayap)

The ngayap courting activity is a test of a young boys’ courage and maturity as they have to travel at evening by means of forest, crossing rivers or swamps to reach the girls’ longhouse. The night courtship ought to final no longer than three nights, and at the finish of the courtships, the boy will be asked if he is significant about marrying the girl.

The night courtship is pre-arranged with the girl and it should not involve a lot more than a series of talks to let the two parties know every other.

In the headhunting days, this kind of evening travel could be a really risky affair as they could fall upon a band of marauding enemies. But as Dayak is known as a warrior tribe, the evening courtship is accepted as a sign of a bravery of a headhunter.

five. Modernised Dayak

The Dayaks today are now to be a lot more placid and hospitable than those in the course of the colonial era. Some longhouses are now equipped with air-conditioners, refrigerators and the web.

The days exactly where headhunting is a norm is long gone and in spite of becoming a tradition, dayak tatoos is increasingly becoming just a symbol of heritage and culture. The increasingly urbanised Dayak is reduced to an exhausted previous and the ancient crafts of boat creating, weaving, dancing and tatooing are dying fast.

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