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|SARAWAK TRADITIONAL BOATS
CHINESE’S DRAGON BOAT
The Chinese Dragon Boat features the head and tail of a dragon, a mythological creature regarded by the Chinese as having dominion over the waters and exercising control over rainfall. The head and tail are kept ashore during the year and are only affixed for the races. After they have been attached, it is necessary to bring the boat to life and a ceremony presided over by a Taoist priest amidst burning incense and exploding firecrackers. The eyes of the dragon head is dotted with paint and sacrificial paper money is put into the dragon’s mouth and then thrown into the water.
The Dragon Boat Race traces its history to commemorate the life and death of a famous Chinese Scholar-stateman, Chu Yuan. Some three centuries BC, Chu Yuan served the King of Chu during the warring states period. As a loyal Minister, Chu Yuan at first enjoyed full confidence and respect of his sovereign. Eventually through the intrigues of his rivals, he was discredited and was never able to regain the emperor’s favour. On the fifth moon in the year 295 BC Chu Yuan plunged himself into the Milo River in the Hunan province.
The people who lived in the area jumped in their boats and rushed out in a vain search for him. This unsuccessful rescue attempt traces the history of what the Dragon Boat Race is and is being commemorate every year.
MALAY’S PERAHU BALOK
In the olden days, the building of the Perahu Balok was largely undertaken by the Malays of Kampung Ladung, Batang Air Simunjan, an area famous for its timber (kayu balak).
Originally the perahu balok was created from a whole tree trunk using simple implements such as the “parang” and “beliong”. The boat can accommodate between 4 to 5 persons.
Over time the building method was modified involving building such parts as the “lunas’ and ‘linggi” separately and using water-tight woods such as ‘kayu penyauk’ or ‘empedu’ for the “timbo”. Accommodating between 5 to 10 people, it is also called ‘perahu sampat”. Because of its popularity, perahu sampat was distributed for sale not only at the Ceko Market, Kuching but also other part of the state, especially Samarahan.
Perahu Balok (or Sampat) is still popular especially among the riverine and coastal communities and serves a number of purposes, such as fishing, gathering of attap leaves and transportation.
MELANAU’S TRADITIONAL BOATS
The Melanau Community has a few types of traditional boats. In the Melanau dialect (Mukah) they are known as Bahong, Badong, Bakong, Buagan and Bidar. Each one has its own uniqueness, designed and constructed in different sizes and capacity to suit different purposes.
The boats are all made from wood, ranging from Kapur (Lelawak), Papa, Daeet, Gerangan and Meranti. The choice of wood influences the boat’s durability, speed and lightness for racing.
The Bahong and Badong boats are used for deep sea and shallow water fishing. Bakong boats is normally used for transporting goods along the wide and deeper rivers while Buagan, being smaller in size and capacity is mainly used in small rivers in the villages. Bidar boat on the other hand is used by the Melanaus for boat competitions and regattas held in Mukah, Dalat and other districts and divisions in Sarawak.
The boats are decorated with paraphernalia consisting of the ritualistic “Serahang”, a multi-tiered traditional basket specially used at the Melanau’s traditional Kaul festival and “Jengayak” as well as other accessories of a typical Melanau origin. The Melanau flags are held high by the men’s paddlers with headbands while women paddlers put on their “terindak” hats that served as a protection against the hot sun.
Whenever and wherever a regatta is held in Sarawak, Bidar is always present and had been on the racing scene of the Sarawak Regatta for over a century, thus contributing to the colours of this premier event which is of great historical and cultural significance.
The Sarawak Regatta is one event that brings people of all races,
cultures and beliefs to the Kuching Waterfront. The races are fast
and furious, full of grandeur and tradition as well as fun for all,
both participants and spectators.
INDEX of Kuching City September 24, 2017 11:13:52 PM