SARAWAK > 1ST DIVISION KUCHING > KUCHING CITY >


Sarawak Regatta


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.



ORANG ULU’S HARUK ADANG USUNG TINGANG

“HARUK ADANG USUNG TINGANG” literally translated means “flying boat with the hornbill bow”.

So-callled “flying boat” because the Orang Ulu legend has it that during the tribal warring days of Borneo, the fire to avenge the death of their tribesman would burn so strong in their warrior’s chests that it would literally fuel the “HARUK ADANG USUNG TINGANG” to “fly”.

Usually dug out from the “arau”, “merang kayuk” or sometimes known as “enkabang” tree. Its bow is usually curved with the hornbill motif, given that the hornbill is highly revered in the Orang Ulu culture as it was seen as a vessel for the spirits to communicate to the people. This legendary “HARUK ADANG USUNG TINGANG” did not remain as mere legend, but also made the long and ardous journey from upper Bakun to Kuching to pay tax during the reign of Rajah Brooke by sheer ‘paddle power’, and back!

Nevertheless, the mention of the legendary “HARUK ADANG USUNG TINGANG” never fails to inspire the modern-day Orang Ulus even though it belonged to a bygone era.

BIDAYUH’S ARUD DIAK/TIKURA

This type of ‘arud’ or boat is most popular to the Dayak Bidayuh Community along Sungei Kiri in the Penrissen area. They call it ‘Arud Diak’ (Arud Tikura) because of its peculiar shape, adaptability and suitability to rough swift river in the rural areas.

“Diak” in Bidayuh is a species of tortoise, which can survice on land, sea and rivers. It has a hard, thick and slightly brownish coloured shell covering the body with a pale yellow colour under the stomach. Around its body there are sharp edges which can cut.

Long before the Brooke’s arrival in Sarawak, the Bidayuh along Sungei Sarawak Kiri up to Kpg. Annah Rais in Padawan used this kind of ‘Arud’ as means of transportation. They paddled through swift flowing rivers bringing down with them fruits and rice for sale or trade with other villagers in kampungs like Buntal, Bako and Santubong.

The ‘Arud’ is usually made of a species of wood from the ‘Bitouh’, ‘Engkabang’, ‘Pota’ or ‘Miranti’ trees. These materials need to be thoroughly dried before the construction begins. The ‘arud’ normally has 10, 15, 20 paddlers and it would take them three to four months to complete.

IBAN’S PERAHU BIDAR (PERAHU PENGAYAU)

The ‘Perahu Bidar’ also known as ‘Perahu Pengayau’ was known to be made more than a century ago in the Saribas and Skrang districts (Simanggang Divisioin, now known as Sri Aman). The construction of this boat then spread to Sebuyau and Lundu.

The ‘Perahu Bidar’ is usually made from hard wood such as ‘Meraka’, ‘Keruing’, ‘Penyauk’ and other hard wood species. The wood used is selected based on its durability and water resistance. Tools use to make the ‘perahu bidar’ include ‘beliong’, ‘rimbas’ and ‘parang’.

The hull or ‘lunas’ (langkan) is made from the trunk of a huge hard wood tree and is then ‘timbo’ (attached) with planks to make the ‘Perahu Bidar’. The boat is usually 36 feet long and 6 feet wide and can accommodate up to 20 to 25 paddlers.

With passage of time, the ‘Perahu Bidar’ has changed in size and use and some to 72 feet long and 3 feet wide that can accommodate from 10 to 30 paddlers. The ‘Perahu Bidar’ or ‘Perahu Pengayau’ is now being used for competitive river sports especially in the Regatta Sarawak which is held every year.
 

Sarawak Regatta

 

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.

Acknowledged as the oldest boat race of its kind in Malaysia, the Sarawak Regatta was recorded in the annals as early as 1872 and held in front of the Astana and witnessed by the colonial administrators and other officials. While the original races were mainly for the purpose of social integration and goodwill, they were also important occasions for foreign communities serving in Sarawak and neighboring countries to gather together for comradeship and sharing of common pursuits. In fact, the journals then recorded that the White Rajah, Charles Brooke even sent his own ship to the outstations of Sarawak to bring the residents to watch the race.

The proud tradition of the race has been retained as today's events have seen the influx of both rural communities and urban ones, jostling and mingling with the foreign visitors for a better view of the race along the Waterfront! Naturally too, the races are now not just for winning trophies and prizes but also to enjoy the thrills of participation. The entrance and participation of foreign boats and crews have made the regatta into an international event, which has seen bigger crowds and more boats competing.

In recent years, Sarawak Regatta has gained tremendous popularity as seen by the increasing number of participation in the races. 2007 had witnessed a total number of 6,887 paddlers taking part in 15 races as against 4,660 paddlers in 2006 races.

Taking centre stage in these races are the "Bidar Boats" which are among the biggest boats in the Sarawak Regatta. These boats carry as many as 30 paddlers, carrying with it the "Raja Sungei" titled race.

The fun and excitement of these challenges continue to draw huge crowd to cheer on their favorites and shout themselves hoarse from the thrill of watching! Over the years, some of the participants in the boat races have also shown up with costumes that simply captivated people and the envy of their competitors. Then again, this is one race where history and tradition exist side by side with modern inputs and aspirations for all who take part in it.

 


 


INDEX of Kuching City  September 24, 2017 11:13:52 PM

advanced web statistics