An Iban elder taking rest from the hot day in the long house
I doubt if I can get over the parangs used by the Ibans, jungle food and the long houses in Batang Ai. Just a couple of weeks after the trip and already I am thinking of going back. There is simply too many things I wanna see, learn and experience still. As brief as this trip may be…I think the group of us ‘visitors’ had a really good time, hosted by these lovely people. Continue reading Iban parangs, tasty grubs and longhouses; Final
Here is a video of a traditional furnace which belongs to the Bidayuhs in Semban Sarawak. Local guide and villager Glen and his father was kind enough to setup the furnace just to demonstrate how their old furnace works. The feathers on the ‘plungers’ are not from chickens but from a particular type of raptor.
Kitchen knives used by the Bidayuh women in Semban
I was equally astounded by the traditional blades used by the Bidayuh women in Semban. While the shapes of the blades are quite the same to their ‘bigger’ parang cousins, the method in which they are used is artistic. But the biggest surprise to me had to be the use of bamboo as a cutting tool.
The hilt of a Bidayuh’s Parang…wait till you see the rest!
The cutting tools used by the Bidayuhs in Semban are really unique and inspiring. From large Parangs to kitchen knives, there are even ‘non-metal’ cutting tools still being used by these amazingly beautiful people. To me, they are true testaments of how a deep understanding and appreciation of life and the world around enables the creation of functional and practical tools. Amazing? You bet!
Since my trip to Sarawak, I have fallen in love with parangs from Sarawak. Old school it may be but these blades of the Orang Ulu are amazingly functional and tried tested. I have a few parang Ilang but recent pieces given to me as gifts by Danny Voon of Kuching has really impressed me a lot.
This is a beautiful Sarawak Parang blade I received from my friend Apai74. Apai74 or James is no stranger in knife forums like BritishBlades and MKF. I got in touch with him some time back through a mutual friend and a few months ago, James’ package of ‘Parang’ arrived at my office. Oh…what a beauty.
It is true that people say the best blade for any one place is the ones the locals there use. This is no exception for the Penans of Sarawak. I was fortunate there were a couple of Penan guides on a trip to the interior of Sarawak jungle. For the first time in my life, I saw how the parang used by the Penans.