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Legend of the quarrel between Bakir hill and Gunung Lesung

Located in Sri Aman, Sarawak, Gunung Lesung National Park is a 500ha conservation area rich in flora and fauna.

But did you know that legend has it that Gunung Lesung (Lesong) used to be located elsewhere?

The legend of the quarrel between Bakir hill and Gunung Lesong

Iban ethnologist and Sarawak museum curator Benedict Sandin wrote in The Sarawak Gazette (Sept 30, 1965) about a quarrel that broke out between Bakir Hill and Gunung Lesong.

Referred to as Gunung Lesong by the Malay community, the mountain was widely referred to as Lingga mountain, or ‘Bukit Lingga’ by the Iban community, a name which still lives on to this day.

It is said that long ago Bakir Hill which lies to the west of Spaoh used to stand very close to Gunung Lesong.

“One day they argued about Mujau Hill. Each claimed that the latter was its spine as it stood close to them. No spirit could stop them quarrelling with each other, so one day they agreed to invite a hero, Tutong, from Gelong to settle their dispute,” Benedict wrote.

When Tutong came, he lit a fire and with his bellows he blew a huge cloud of smoke towards Bakir Hill and Gunung Lesong.

Suffocated by the smoke, Gunung Lesong rose into the air and moved away, taking everything that lived and rested on top with it.

Gunung Lesung or Lusong was once located next to Bakir Hill.
After Gunung Lesong made the move

Benedict continued, “When it was about to cross the Batang Lupar river a man who had come with his boat from the the lower river saw a huge mountain flying up in the air and making a great noise.”

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The man then asked what it was. Suddenly, he heard a voice answering him that Gunung Lesong was fleeing away from the Saribas to settle with Senyandang mountain at the lower part of Batang Strap, a tributary of Batang Lupar.

When it finally reached there, Gunung Lesung sat down next to Senyandang mountain. “After the Gunung Lesong (Lingga mountain) had settled there, the strap river’s name was changed into the Lingga River by which it is known nowadays, though the upper part of it is still known as Batang Strap.”

Today, you can see the peaks of Senyandang mountain and Gunung Lesong from afar. It is believed that the original site of Gunung Lesong in the Saribas area is now a swamp.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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