My mother was a Priestess when I was born. She was initiated as one at a very young age by her parents who themselves were guardians of the Bidayuh way of life. After she married my father after divorcing her husband she underwent her second initiation as an adult. Whenever she went out to farm she either wore her Traditional Priestess headgear called “SPIE’AH” or just a long red cloth folded in such a way that it covered her head and one end covered her neck from being exposed too.
Boy, how both my parents knew where and how to farm because we were never short of kampong rice. They carried out all the ceremonies needed on every farm they made. However I never pay any attention to what they were doing nor do they asked me to observe. In fact they would not like you to mess around when they did the ceremonies. They only told me not be in the way. As such, I am not well versed in the rituals they carried out.
Yet helping others was also part of her village responsibility especially when my father took over as the village Chief in 1961. By then she was also the High Priestess of the village. She was able to help in healing ceremonies where Priestesses needed to involved. Most of the time I would be left behind too. However along she would tell me what are right things to do and say especially in the Bidayuh way of life and the faith they believe in such that by the time to school, I had no problem about the Ten Commandments as all of it had been covered by my mother although she is illiterate and never hear anything about the Bible. This is because it is also our way of telling children not to do this or that or else “TULAH or POLIH”. TULAH is something like a “CURSE” which will come upon you surely and eventually without realization. POLIH is like forbidden and if you transgresses, harm may come in the way and you may fall sick or die. Normally parents would you vivid examples of villages as to who had them, when and why.
In fact my father also taught me that people who curse, berate, accuse falsely will in the end their dues. I was asking him to take all his accusers before the elders to decide on all the things I heard about each of them saying about him or even cursing him to “die, etc”. But he said, “Tanah negeh, Topa duoh Eang Sumuk Babai ngogit. Suoh balasan obuoh eyoh palih”.(” leave it alone, God and the spirit of our elders hear. All will go back to them.” He said, ” see one day. all of them who curse me to die will die before I do. ..” Sure enough over the years what he said came true. He died being the last of his generation.
When I applied “silence and my bald head” in response for all those nonsense that the conspirators said about me in 1995 and after, all had already paid their dues one way or another. None of them did well now. They may “tons of money and successes” but one day they will have none left. Many had paid for it and some is still paying despite I stopped shaving my head long long ago already. Thus it is important to remember that it is forbidden to deliberately accuse others falsely for vengeance of the Almighty will be on you.
It is also important to remember that God and our ancestors are there to protect us if we can ask for it as long as we remain pure of sins. We were often told not to “cross” any old men because their curse could be very harmful, especially the poor and the helpless, for they maybe “God’s children to test our compassion for his creation.” Of course there is a story in the Bible about a very rich man having to ask for favor from the very poor soul he had abused before in life. And I have been told that there is also a very similar of two dying men asking for favors from God. The very rich man asking for a very rare fish for his last meal was granted but a very poor and holy man asking for a drop of water to sooth his parched throat was not granted. The Angel asked GOD, “Why?” The answer was that the later will be granted his rewards in Heaven while the RICH man will be thrown into Hell so he deserves his last enjoyment before suffering into eternity.
Thus my faith were well grounded in the teachings of my parents so that whatever is taught later need not be superseded what I have been taught earlier.
She died when I was in Upper Six at Tanjong Lobang.