Some Insights to the Ibans' Culture Please?

I’m a Chinese married to an Iban. We have a son who is 5 mths now. As our son is half-Iban, I’d like him to grow up aware of his Iban roots and culture. He lives with my parents so he will be more exposed to the Chinese culture. I do not know much about the Ibans’ culture or practises.

Some of the things I do know:

-take some rice and eat 'em before going on a long journey (I suppose this for ensuring a safe journey. What’s the story behind it?)

  • when travelling, should not mention food. If food or the word eat is mentioned, should touch our teeth (and say something but what?). What is the reason for doing this?

Maybe you guys out there could give me more insights to the Ibans’ culture and practises. If I could collect enough materials, maybe I could write a book bout it. =)

May be once in a blue moon… give a chance to your son to be with ur- iban’ family. :wink:

It is to avoid from bad luck or “punik” (in Iban’s version) during the journey. As for that word you are looking for is called “daki inik”.

Hi there CWL. that sounds interesting. let you know something. I am a chinese iban and I am proud of that :slight_smile:
Well, maybe you should bring your child to visit their grandparents more often and let them mingle with their cousins from the other side of the family. That will make them be more appreciative of their own race. Which is Chinese and also Iban.
Well, that was what my parents did. I will definitely do that also, if I have the chance :slight_smile:
Does that help?

Been back to Sarawak (Sri Aman) twice already… the most recent in December when the lil’ one was 3 mths old.

Planning to go back this Gawai (if $$ permits). If not we’ll try to go back in December.

I encourage my husband and Iban friends to speak to our son in Iban. I want him to grow up proud of the Iban language. Hopefully he won’t get too confuse though as we speak to him in Iban, English, BM, Hokkien and Cantonese. Hehe.

Hmn … maybe the other thing we could do is come up with an Iban-English-BM dictionary? Not only Iban language but Bidayuh, Melanaus, etc. I find Iban easy to learn. Not the other languages though. I get ??? on my forehead when the Bidayuhs and Melanaus speak.

Lol. I dont think he will get confused.
I forgot to mention… Let me share with you…
My mum is a melanau iban, my dad is a chinese + iban also… so, it is kind of easy for me. cos both parents can speak iban.
It’s quite rare for us to speak in Chinese, let alone Hakka, which is my dad’s dialect… And I also only understand a little bit of Melanau language cos I rarely mingle with my other family members on my mum’s side in my younger years.
Anyway, my dad sent me to the Chinese Primary school and I learn more about Chinese language and culture there…
After that, I went to Malay secondary school. It’s kinda like culture shock for me… becos they speak in a completely different set of language… which is Sarawakian Malay most of the time… so, there I learn how to talk, walk and almost appear like a Malay kid in those days…
Sort of like that…
So, mine was colorful. I like it.
I don’t think he’s gonna get confused :slight_smile: Just try and see. I am sure he’s gonna be a genius… (I am one! Lol)

[quote=“cwl_karen”]I’m a Chinese married to an Iban. We have a son who is 5 mths now. As our son is half-Iban, I’d like him to grow up aware of his Iban roots and culture. He lives with my parents so he will be more exposed to the Chinese culture. I do not know much about the Ibans’ culture or practises.

Some of the things I do know:

-take some rice and eat 'em before going on a long journey (I suppose this for ensuring a safe journey. What’s the story behind it?)

  • when travelling, should not mention food. If food or the word eat is mentioned, should touch our teeth (and say something but what?). What is the reason for doing this?

Maybe you guys out there could give me more insights to the Ibans’ culture and practises. If I could collect enough materials, maybe I could write a book bout it. =)[/quote]

karen,
i think you should balancing your son life between iban and chinese cultures. by doing so when he grow up he can make use of these two cultures. you don’t want your son when he mix up with iban but he does not know iban culture and same when he mix up with his chinese friends. people use to call this type iban pelandok (sorry to say this)

Honestly I salute you. Most of Dayak

I agree with Jos10. I believe the key here is to loosen-up both parties a little and not to make it as a firm rule that you as a chinese will only speak your own language to the child, and the same with your husband in assuming it is good for the child. As we all know, language is the key to enter the other race’s realm. Once you’ve learned it, you’re in. And being the mother, you know the child will always be closer to you. So whatever you learn now will obviously shape what they will become in the future.

Ryna is an Iban, and I am a Chinese. And we’re married. So you’re not alone out there. :smiley:

I can speak Iban, albeit not that fluent. Hafta coz that is the only way to communicate with my in-laws as they can’t speak BM or other languages. It’s quite funny how Iban and BM are so alike yet so different. I remember one incident when I first went back to Sri Aman with my then fiance. I was cooking and my then future mother-in-law came in and said: Hangit!

I asked my husband if his mom didn’t like my cooking. He asked what made me say that. I told him his mom said my cooking smelt bad. He then asked me what his mom said. When I said “hangit”, you can imagine how he roared with laughter.

Of course, I can understand and speak Iban better nowadays. But there are still funny moments, as I simply cannot help combining Iban and BM. Sometimes, my in-laws end up staring at me with mouth agape. I do the same when they shoot off Iban words like a Concorde. Or we would nod our heads and smile but actually not understanding what the other part was saying. Haha!

So you do understand how important are the languages function in learning process. To be more knowledgeable more conversation or question and answer to be involved. Some think may be not explained in other language. For example

hi,

good for u…ur child will has great advantage when grow up…just do let ur child to be druken master like dayaks…sorry for that info but it’s true and my frens labelled Dayaks or Iban as great drunken master…am i proud of it?well…i dun really drinks like that…and bcoz of it im different :stuck_out_tongue:

try to bring ur grandparent to stay for a period of time with u…so take they take care of the child…and the child get to know them…who knows…ur child might teach ur grandparents chinese words… :wink:

anyway…knowing other language other than english or malay definately helps later in life…

The drinking? Sigh! It’s a norm with the Ibans isn’t it? If my husband and I argues, drinking is always the cause. I don’t stop him from drinking entirely. Problem is whenever he and the friends start, they simply do not know when to stop.

[quote=“cwl_karen”]I’m a Chinese married to an Iban. We have a son who is 5 mths now. As our son is half-Iban, I’d like him to grow up aware of his Iban roots and culture. He lives with my parents so he will be more exposed to the Chinese culture. I do not know much about the Ibans’ culture or practises.

[/quote]

I am born half chinese and half iban too. My mom is from Perak and my dad from simunjan. Ever since I was young, my parents make it a big deal to expose us to both cultures. I. E going back to visit grandparents during CNY and Gawai. I have lived in Sarawak my whole life so I was expose to the Iban culture. but mom didnt stop there, she taught us chinese (write and read, but i can only read a little bit) and watch Cantonese series all the time and teaching us along the way.

So its true what everyone says, it all starts at home. You can speak chinese and teach your kid the chinese culture and your husband can teach him the iban culture. Dont force it on the kid just let him take his time. Its always better if they learn it naturally. :*) it worked for me and I am proud of it.

BTW about the drinking… again, it all starts from home. If you teach him that drinking excessively is wrong then he will know that its wrong. Always do things moderately. :*)

Someone once told me, the first 4 years of a child life is yours. This is the period of time when you can teach him/her what you want, including languages and habits.

When the child reaches 5 and years old, they will be influenced by friends in school, teachers (to them teacher is always right, trust me on this!!) and lastly parents. When they reach teenage, friends are the only one influencing them, then later husband or wife…no more time to hear the parents’ say anymore.

I’m a mixture myself, “rojak” some more. My mom’s a Chinese from Mukah and my dad is Javanese + Malay. Imagine the languages we have in our home…hahahaha

And now i’m married to a Chinese+Iban lady…“rojak-ing” all the way!!

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an Iban-English dictionary, I suggest:

Richards AJN (1981): An Iban-English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Not sure if you can get it at the bookshops here, but I guess you can order it through Belle’s.

By the way, I’m Iban and I don’t drink and I don’t like generalisations

Oh here’s an interesting link:

http://www.nativecustoms.sarawak.gov.my/web/rit1.html

Oh here’s an interesting link:

http://www.nativecustoms.sarawak.gov.my/web/rit1.html

That’s a good one… althought it’s not a full version type of dictionary but at least “The mission of the Majlis is to preserve and nurture the customs and traditions of the Dayak of Sarawak so as to maintain order and development of the community.” cool huh… :wink: