What happens during a Melanau berayun ritual

Do you know what is the difference between Melanau berayun and berbayoh rituals? While both rituals were meant as healing ceremonies, berbayoh is performed for minor ailments and berayun is reserved for more serious cases. At the same time, both rituals are aimed to get rid of the spirit which caused the

The forgotten history of Travelling Dispensary No. 2 in Sarawak

Since its introduction in 1973, the Flying Doctor Service has been providing basic health services to at least 37,000 patients annually in Sarawak's rural area. The team usually comprises a medical officer, an assistant medical officer and two community nurses. Covering at least 116 remote locations, these helicopters fly out from Kuching,

Frank Marryat, the man who gave us the early drawings of Borneo

There were many adventurers who came to Borneo during the 19th century. While most of them jotted down their experiences in writing, only a few talented ones managed to capture it in drawings. One of them was Frank Marryat (1826-1855), an English sailor, author and artist. His father, Captain Frederick Marryat was

Looking back to a Melanau berbayoh ceremony at Balingian in 1947

The berbayoh ceremony is a type of traditional healing ritual practiced by Melanau pagans. Since many Melanau have embraced Christianity and Islam, such ritual is rarely in practice. According to the former Mukah district officer W.G. Morison, the berbayoh ceremony is performed for minor ailments while the berayun is reserved for more

Iban childbirth customs recorded by Rev William Howell

Every culture has its own customs and taboos during childbirth. These customs and tradition mainly have one sole purpose; to protect the mother and her newborn baby from harm. Here are Iban childbirth customs as per recorded by Rev William Howell: When the time of delivery is come and while she is

Old customs when building a new Iban longhouse

In the olden days, building a new longhouse was usually heavily influenced by superstitions. Reverend William Howell once recorded his observation of the Iban customs when building a new longhouse. He stated, “It is not uncommon among uncivilised races, whose lives are influenced or rather haunted by superstitions of various kinds, to

Reminiscences of former Sarawak Museum Curator Edward Banks

Founded in 1888 and opened in 1891, the Sarawak Museum is the oldest museum in Borneo. Since its inception until 1974, the head of the museum was called ‘Curator’. After this, the title for the head of the museum became “Director.” Sarawak Museum has seen so many curators and directors passing