Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dayak Tattoo

In Dayak culture, tattoo is not only for esthetics reason, but it’s a part of their tradition, religion, and social status and or as an appreciation for someone’s special ability. For dayak people tattoo has a meaning of a torch in their journey to the eternal live after death. More tattoos, means more torches and also means more easier to them to reach the next world. But they can not have tattoos as much as they like since there are tribal laws to obey in making tattoo.

Most of dayak sub tribe have tattoo tradition, but there are sub tribe that do not have it. Every dayak sub tribe have their own rules and laws according this tradition.

The reason behind that tattoos.

There are dayak sub tribe who live in Indonesia – Sarawak (Malaysia) border who have a special tattoo in their finger, as symbol for their ability in medication. Someone with lots of tattoos means lots of medication experience and ability and that’s means these persons are expert and has helped many life.

For dayak Kenyah and Kayan in East Borneo, more tattoos means more wandering to visit other village – in Borneo, they could visit other village thousands kilometers far from their home, including travel by boating along the rivers more than on month!

Tattoo also given to the royal family. Usually they have ‘enggang’ bird tattoo motive, some kind of endemic bird. For sub tribe Dayak Iban, the chief and his clan have tattoo in ‘ski living creature’ motive, like birds etc. The motive for royal family has good quality details and finishing than common people.

For other sub tribes, tattoo is related to their tradition of ‘ngayau’ or slaughtering and cuts enemy’s head on battlefield, more head slaughtered means more tattoo motives they have. This tradition of course can not be done at this time. Tattoo for the brave warriors who slaughtered many enemies’ heads usually placed on the right shoulder. In other sub tribe, the tattoo will be placed on the left arm for middle level bravery, and on the right arm for warrior who have an incredible bravery.

Not only men, women also have tattooed. For women, they only have tattoo on arm and leg, and there is religious motivation to have it, in order to get God blessing and protection from evils. In certain sub tribes, women who does not have tattoo considered as lower class society.

In Dayak Kayan sub tribe, there are 3 kinds of tattoo for women; tattoo on all over of legs and feet and applied for adult women only, on arms and hands, and all over the thighs.

In Dayak Kenyah, tattoo for women created when a girl have her first menstruation or about 16 years old. There is special custom ceremony in the making of tattoo for women. The ceremony is hold in a special house, and no men allowed go outside their houses during the ceremony.

Women have limited motives of tattoo, like black nail on finger or tiger face on arm. Dayak women who have tattoo on their thigh usually have high social status, and also wearing a bangle on the lower legs.

How do they make these traditional tattoos?

In the beginning, tattoos created with natural tools like thorn taken from lemon tree, but in this time they are using needle, but they are still using soot for the ink to get black color tattoo.

So, if you see ‘multicolor’ tattoo on a young Dayak, it must be modern tattoo for ‘modern reason’ instead of traditional tattoo that have a lot of philosophy.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Serat Centini, a Javaneese Traditional Sex Manual

I’m sure that you know well about Kama Sutra. How about this traditional javaneese sex manual written in early 19th century? I’m sure you will get interested too. Many people believe that this Indonesian traditional sex manual is more complete and “challenging”.

This ancient literature written by 3 authors of Surakarta (Solo) Sultanate palace; Yasadipura II, Ranggasutrasna and R. Ng. Sastradipura in 1815 ordered by the Sultan, K.G.P.A.A Amengkunegara II or also called as Sinuhun Paku Buwana V.

Serat Centhini also explained about the manner in having sex between husband and wife according to Java culture manner. For example; In having sex, we have to ‘empan papan’, that is mean we have to knowing about the situation around, the place and condition, not in rush, and it is a both side wants. The manners in having sex also refer to hadis (message word) from Prophet Muhammad SAW. For example; It is suggested to take a bath, use perfume and make a pray before having sex with your wife/husband.

Serat Centini (also called as Suluk Tembangraras) consisted of 722 javaneese traditional song containing about sex and sexuality. In this literature, sexual disclosures come in many ways. For example, the chapter Centhini II (Pupuh Asmaradahana) explains the techniques about how to get quick orgasm or delay it, and how to delay ejaculation to get more longer and ‘unforgettable’ coitus.

The next chapter Chentini IV (Pupuh Balabak) explains about pratingkahing cumbana or coitus styles, and also explains about woman character and how to ‘turn them on’! For example, surya sumurup is a type of women who has pink lips, rather blue eyes, and has a curly sinom (thin hair at the top of her forehead). This kind of woman will never cheat her man and has ‘perfect harmony’ in having sex with her husband, so they will always get orgasm along with her husband’s ejaculation (‘come together!’).

This chapter also explains about the coitus position according to javaneese culture. In penetrating, a man must know his wife type. From this condition, they have various style, such as; kadya galak sawer (his pecking just like a wild snake!); lir ngaras gandane sekar (grope the smell of the flower); lir bremana ngisep sekar (honey bee sucks flower); lir lumaksana pinggire jurang (at step a side of ravine); baita layar anjog rumumbaka (sailing boat down to the sea) and many more!

In the past, javaneese also have many jalu usada (sexual medication) in order to get strength in having sex. For example; in Serat Centhini VII (Pupuh Dandhanggula), there is a formula to keep the sperm jell and fertile, and also keep the man’s penis strong and ‘long lasting’. The formula is; merica sunti (pepper), 7 cabe wungkuk (bent chili pepper), garam lanang (salt), arang kayu jati (teak wood charcoal), and ¼ of gula aren (palm sugar). All of ingredients are softened with pipisan (the ancient softener tool made from solid stone) in the middle of field yard right at noon! The softened ingredient then compacted as capsules.

This capsules (called as jamu – herb medicine) then swallowed along with spelling mantra (magic spell) at the same time. The mantra is; “Sang dewa senjata akas-akas, kurang baga luwih akase, kurang baga akukuh, ora ana patine”. What’s that mean? Oh, please just mark the last 3 words of the mantra; ora ana patine, that’s means “Never Die!”

Source : Intisari magazine, May 2005 by Al. Heru Kustara.

Rambu Solo (Toraja Funeral Party)

What do you do if someone you really love has passed away? Crying all the time? Not in Toraja. They will make hilarious party to honoring the defunct.

In Toraja, there is a big funeral party to showing respect to the person who passing away. This ceremony called RAMBU SOLO. This ceremony is so hilarious.

Host will greeting the guest with a lot of dish and dance. There is 4 diferent level of Rambu Solo ceremony, refer to Toraja social status:
1. Dipasangi bongi: the ceremony that held for one night only.

2. Dipatulung Bongi: the ceremony held for 3 nights, and the host will serve livestock to the guest.
3. Dipalimang Bongi: the ceremony held for 5 nights, and the host will serve livestock to the guest. 4. Dipapitung Bongi: the ceremony held for 7 nights, and the host will cut their livestock everyday and serve it to the guest.

The highest level of Rambu Solo ceremony will be held twice a year. The first called Aluk Pia and the second is called Rante. Rante will be held on special ground field because there is so many rituals will be held. The rituals are: 1. Ma’tundan, 2. Mebalun (wrapping corpse) 3. Ma’roto ( decorating the coffin) 4. Ma'Popengkalo Alang ( removing the coffin from house to granary) 5. Ma'Palao ( bring the coffin frim granary to the final destination, grave yard).

Bekakak, a bloody ceremony to slaughter the brides…!

“Slaughter the brides..! Spread out their flesh and blood to the crowd..! Give them to us. We want to eat them, now…!” people in the crowd were yelling.

Couple hours before, people brought the brides around the village and finally brought them to the altar of Gunung Gamping (gamping – limestone) the place where the bride will be slaughtered.

Minutes after, some people from
Yogyakarta Sultanate Palace slaughtered the bride. When the sharp knife cutting the bride neck, the blood running out…! The crowd was held their breath, it is so silent. After the brides were slaughtered, the slaughter man spread out the bride flesh to the crowd.
The people were scrambling in the crowd to get the small piece of the bride flesh.

“Hmm, the flesh is so crispy, and the blood is so sweet…!” people said.

Wait a minute, why the people are so cruel? Are they cannibals? Oh, of course they are not. They just did their tradition called BEKAKAK. This ceremony is to honor their ancestor, Ki Wirosuto and Nyi Wirosuto. Ki and Nyi Wirosuto is a husband and wife who serve the Royal Family of Yogyakarta Sultanate, who killed in a mount slide in Mount of Gamping in 1755, right in month of Sapar (Safar).

The story began when the Sultan Hamengkubuwono I build his palace on 1755. As a beloved servant who helped Sultan Hamengkubowono I on his escape from the Dutch troop siege in Solo Palace, Ki Wirosuto asked by the Sultan to stay in Ambarketawang home stay during the palace building project in progress. But he was refused, and prefers live in a cave in Mount of Gamping to Amb
arketawang. In Friday 10th and 15th there was a mount slide, and Wirosuto family killed, buried in the limes tones, and their body never be founded.

In the beginning, this BEKAKAK ceremony is to honoring Ki and Nyi Wirosuto for their loyalty to Sultan Hamengkubowono I. Recently, the ceremony is to get the blessing from Ki Wirosuto for the village, since the main job of local people is limestone harvester. It is a very dangerous job, so they need Ki Wirosuto blessing to avoid the bad things from happens. In this ceremony, people slaughtering the brides doll made from soft rice flour and liquid sugar, as a symbol of sacrifice –no wonder their flesh are crispy and their blood are so sweet. There is a wish, with doing this sacrifice they can avoid disaster in Mount of Gamping.

Well, that’s all folks. They are not cruel or cannibal. They are just ordinary villagers.

Don't try to be Casanova in Borneo Hinterland!

Read and remember this if you have a plan to visit East Borneo hinterland someday!

If you dating local woman and leave her instead of get married with her, you'd be fined. The fine must be paid to her parent. In the past, the fine should be paid with some ancient china/ceramic, or the local people know it as ‘gama’. The fine will be doubled if you dating someone’s wife.

“How much the fine I should pay?”

The fine decided refers to their ancient tribe law. Even there is no written law, the elder excellently memorize the details and easily decide the fine that should be sentenced to the ‘Casanova’. But don’t worry, you could pay the fine in a single payment or credit installment!

“It’s very hard to find ancient china at this century. Should I go to Christie in New York to find it?”

Since the ancient china/ceramic is a very hard to find, the elder decides you could pay the fine with money. Not long time ago there was a doctor come from Java island, and dating a local girl, but they are not getting married. So, the elder decided to fined the doctor about 10 million rupiah!

Recently, the local hinterland people tend to change the fine from money to household goods like chainsaw or boat machine (the main transportation in hinterland is river transportation). Wow, what a clever!

So, are you still want to traveling to East Borneo hinterland?

Kidnap me, please…!!!

There’s hundreds of marriage custom in Indonesia, since this country consisted of hundreds ethnic groups. This one is from Lampung province in Sumatra:

There is a native Lampung guy who wants to married to javaneese girl. A week before ‘big day’, the bride is suddenly disappearing, and her family starts to panic! Then her parent talk to guy parent about this. But hey, what happen with this Lampung family? They are absolutely not worried at all.

The Lampung family finally knows that the Java family do not know about local Lampung pre marriage custom, and start to explain what exactly happen to their daughter.

“Don’t worry about your daughter, she’s save and in good conditions. She was kidnapped by my son”, the Lampung family says.

So, the Java family finally know that according to Lampung custom, there is a special ritual called ‘larian’ - that’s mean kidnapping- a few days before the big day. In the past, man will kidnap their girlfriend if her parents disagree with their relationship.

Commonly, the new couple will stay at their parent home after marriage. So, in this time, this ‘larian’ ritual still continued as ‘orientation session’ for girl, in order to get used to her boyfriend family atmosphere.

I think if you live in US, you also can kidnap your girl friend, but maybe it will ends up with you going to jail : ).