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Nirwana College Multicultural Presentation


BY : IDA CHUA WANG ENG (03-0316-00002)Selveswaran a/l gopal 03-0316-00010)AMIR ARIF B. ROSLAN (03-0316-00012)SWARAN SINGH SEKHON (981205-10-5297)LOGESHWARAN A/L PHANDIUAN (960710-05-5451)TITLE : MELANAU


IntroductionMelanauorA-Likou are an ethnic group indigenous toSarawak, Malaysia. They are among the earliest settlers of Sarawak.They speak Melanau language, which is part of North Bornean branch of Malayo-Polynesian languages.IntroductionIn 2010, there are estimated to be 123,410 who consider themselves Melanau, making it the fifth largest ethnic group in Sarawak (after Iban, Chinese, Malays and Bidayuh).In the 19th century, the Melanaus settled in scattered communities along the main tributaries of the Rajang River in Central Sarawak.

IntroductionMelanau or the problematic Kajang speaking tribes such as the Sekapan, the Rajang, the Tanjung and the Kanowit gradually moved and assimilated into Dayak migrations settling in the Rajang. The Melanau people are regarded as a sub-ethnic of the Klemantan Dayak people.IntroductionToday the Punan (or Punan Bah) people are also closely linked to the last riverine dwelling Melanau communities previously inhabiting the middle and upper Rejang tributaries. The Kajang language is kept relatively alive by the isolated Sekapan communities Kapit division of Sarawak. LOCATION OF MELANAUThe areas of Sarawak inhabited by Melanau speakers stretch from Bintulu on the northwest coast of Borneo to the Rajang Delta in the southwest, and up the Rajang River to Kanowit. Beyond Kanowit are closely related Kajang peoples, who also are found on the River Baluy. The inhabitants of the coastal area live along rivers (Balingian, Mukah, Oya, and Igan) that run parallel to one another through dense tropical-rain-forest swamp, and frequently are referred to as the Coastal Melanau to distinguish them from Melanau speakers on the Rajang.

River Tillian at Mukah

Melanau DelicaciesUMAIThe famous food which all the Melanaus like it, which is traditional Umai (Melanau Sashimi).The umai is made by the raw fish. Mostly the fisherman use the red fish to make umai as it taste sweet. The fish must be fresh and still half alive as it flesh will be tender, sweet and tasty. The fish must be cut precisely to get rid of its bone and the skin. The flesh is the most essential ingredients for making the Umai. Then, it will mix it up with the one cup of slice onion, two cups of lime juice, 3 spoons of chillies and lastly the crush of grounds peanut.

LinutIt is made from the sago palm trees. The sago flour is mixed it up with hot water. And it will form a clump of glue and continuously mix it up with hot water and the final results; it will appear sticky and solid as glue. Linut is best eaten with the chilli prawn paste while it is still hot.Sago is the little tiny sago which being made manually by hand. They are best being eaten with the dry fish, curry, and Umai. The taste of sago is salty and creamy. It can replace rice as it have high carbohydrate levels and good for diabetics.

Melanau economicsSubsistence and Commercial Activities.Hunting and gathering, combined with the cultivation of sago gardensexport of sago biscuit and forest products (gums, resins, rattan, timber) in exchange for metal goods, weapons, ceramics, and cloth traditionally formed The cultivation of sago gardens was supplemented by growing swamp rice

Tradedried fish, salt, nipa palm sugar, and craft productspalm-leaf thatch, mats, baskets, and hatswere undertaken to exchange these items for sago biscuit, fruit, canoes, and timberTraditionally sago biscuit was exported by both inland and coastal villages and of Malay traders from Brunei and elsewhere

Industrial ArtsIn the cottage industry most of the necessary equipment was made locally or acquired through the intrariverine trade. Ironwork and weaving ceased with the advent of a cash economy at the end of the nineteenth century.

Melanau ReligionWhile originally animists, the majority of the Melanaus are now Muslim, although some of them, especially among the Melanau Mukah, and Dalat are Christian. Nonetheless, many still celebrate traditional rites such as the annual Kaul Festival. Despite their different beliefs and religions, the Melanaus, like other East Malaysians (Sabah and Sarawak) are very tolerant of each other and are proud of their tolerance. One can still come across a Melanau family with different children in the family embracing Christianity and Islam while their parents still have strong animist beliefs.

Religious BeliefIn 1980 53,689 Melanau were Sunni Muslim, 8,486 were Christian, 1,749 were tribal, 5,328 were listed as having no religion (but were probably all tribal), and 326 were listed as miscellaneous. For Muslims, Christians, and tribals alike, the world consists of this, the middle world, the upper world (the sky), and the world below. Traditionally the world was egg-shaped, seven layers or worlds above and seven below the middle world, the whole being balanced on the head of a buffalo standing on a snake, all surrounded by water. The breathing of the buffalo caused the ebb and flow of the tides. For some people the land of the dead was an underworld; others thought it elsewhere, but did not know where. Its topography was exact, but differed for Muslims, whose view was shared by Christians.

For Muslims, Christians, and tribals alike, the world, the sun, the moon, and the stars were created by Alla-taala, but how is not known. He is remote and little interested in human affairs. All "layers" of the world are inhabited by spirits ( tou ), who, together with humans, animals, and plants, share this middle world. Every being has its own proper place in the world, which is ordered by adat. Overstepping boundaries causes trouble, and most human illness is caused by trespassing on some spirit's living space. Spirits are of many kinds: earth, air, water, forest, etc. Sometimes they are referred to as ipu', who are less malevolent than tou, and may indeed be invited to reside in and protect dwellings. Supernaturals live on the moon and punish disorderly and disrespectful behavior by men, especially mockery of animals. A female guards the entrance to the land of the dead. People are reluctant to call such supernaturals "tou" or "ipu'," but no other term exists for such demigods. Muslims and some pagans call them melaikat.

Religious Practitioners

No pagan priests exist. Expert carvers of spirit images, or bilum, diagnose what spirit (sometimes also called "bilum" and not "tou") is likely to have caused an illness and, in a short ceremony, forces the spirit into its carved image so that it may be taken to its proper place and forbidden to harm the patient for at least three days. Spirit mediums, with the help of familiar spirits, also cure illness and practice divination. Every village, Muslim and tribal alike, holds an annual cleansing ceremony, kaul, to call uninvited spirits that have taken up residence in the village to a feast before they are sent home to their proper places

FestivalKaul is a traditional festival celebrated by the Melanau community living along the coast area in Sarawak. In the past, Kaul was held as a religious ceremony to appease the spirits of the sea, land, forest and farm making it the most important festival in the Melanau traditional calender.The festival is a ritual of purification and thanksgiving as well as one of the propitiation for good fortune. Today, it is more of keeping a heritage alive. Its marks the beginning of the Melanau calender. Kaul takes place in third week of the month of April every year.During the week-long festival, activities include stalls selling traditional foods, entertainment programs, traditional games. The highlight will be the Serahang (decorated flat round basket made from sago leaf which raise on a bamboo pole) procession lead by local Melanau community elders.Some of the activities not to be missed include playingthe giant swing (Tibow) and enjoying Melanau traditional food served on the log (Keman Baw Bateng also known as Makan Beradat in Malay).