Category Archives: Philosophy

Gawea Sopid/Gawea Olan, Kampong Grogo

In the old days, a village has to survive in a very hostile environment and many were barely manage to do so. So since the days of Ayang, our Bidayuh prophet, was told what to do in order to bring all the present rituals to pray for the community and the individuals in response to to what is wanted by TOPA to get the blessings need for the people and the community to survive in the days with any medical knowledge but was left the various experts in the various field to help thee Bidayuh community to survive to this day.. ravages of epidemics of malaria, cholera, smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough etc has resulted in the current low population compared to the Chinese etc who has knowledge to survive to this day. They do not suffer from the epidemics of cholera for instance for they prefer to drink boiled water and tea while the Bidayuh normally direct from the streams or river…

In spite of the health challenges, rituals are develop to do communal and individual healings…some ceremonies like Gawea Sopid and Gawea Olan are done to seek further blessings for abundant life so that the community would be free from wants. For instance, an offering will be made so that the jungles, rivers and streams will be blessed for more fishes, wild boars etc…. another offering will be made so that the community will be blessed with more fruits, especially the durians… and naturally for the Paddy….Gawea Olan is for these things. But this year, the Gawea Olan is in its fourth year cycle which is Gawea Olan/PINJA, thus attaching a healing component to the ceremony.

PINJA ceremony is the highest healing ceremony for the community as well as for a family or individual.

Thus this year, the ceremony is to seek for all the blessings the villagers need as well as a healing ceremony to appease those “unseen” who may have been offended one way or the other… thus it is also the time for reparation and diplomacy with those who share this earth with us…those unseen no matter who they are.

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LOVE instead of HATE

When going through my Facebook home page this morning, i saw a comment by someone who put up a comment on ” I ….. hate…..”. There must be a very good reason why it was put up.
As it is a Sunday morning, I immediately react, “hey, what there is no reason to express such words.” Yet I acknowledge the most common  and normal reaction to any unwarranted provocation or disappointment is hatred. Look at the hatred expressed in Egypt first against Mubarak and next onto Morsi… But will hatred resolve the Egyptian problem of multi ethnic and religious competition for a better life. Yet Egypt has a long history of great civilizations.. but while other western countries like Canada enjoy their life, Egypt is left at where it to-day…. Their way to change now is a coup after .. They either kill or deposed their President thinking a new President immediately bring their salvation from hard times. It is wished that life is that easy….. but not so. Life is always a struggle to live no matter where you live. I call it as God’s Law that man must work to get something. One must an effort and sweat to get what you need to have a better future. There is no thing as a free for the poor and ordinary citizen. One must put an honest work and effort to be rewarded or given what you want or need. No employer wants a smart talker with very “soft” bones. In my own dialect, “Doras atau ponai Sina pakeh lomah tulang”. It is our expression for “a talker who is lazy…..”.

In our outlook in life, a hatred will not bring anything good except hurting yourself. It has been observed that that laughter alone had cured cancer patients. Loving instead of hatred is not a new philosophy. It should be a way of life as expounded by Jesus himself.. Besides teaching the Christians how to pray, the only thing he adds to the Old Testament is “Love thy neighbor”. If Love is the foundation of his teachings then it must be a very good thing instead of ” I… HATE…” Since to-day is Sunday, the 7th of July 2013 but a new moon for the Chinese Calender, meaning Bulan Jinggu in Bidayuh let us cultivate the spread of love amongst our neighbors but also in our own heart to be happy at all times. Muslimsm will fasting to reflect and possibly to repent to open a new year 30 days later, so why we should reflect as to how we could better ourselves. What could be better if we brainwash oursleves out of the HATRED mode and be on Jesus LOVE mode…. Just love your job, love your current status in life, love your family, and etc so that as in my case my days are shorter now compared to the days when i wished Friday would come, your TGF – or “Thanks God it is Friday” thing! Now a month is over before I now it… rather remember 2013 has less than six months left… July will be over before I know it. My trick is simple. I take my life as it is… wish I can only do more as the people need it. But many politicians tell people that I was and am wrong… so my reaction is… ” I wait till they know that I am wrong” though so far it takes many people twenty years later before they realized that they have been told what i was supposed to be in the eyes of my political opponents….not who or what I really am. However I am a Traditional Bidayuh so I should or ought not to tell anyone who I am.

In fact when asked by one of my peers who is addicted to Alcohol and was drunk for three solid days before I met him at his own house… His drinking binge has not only aged him dramatically but made separated from his loving wife because they quarelled when he was drunk. Anyway it took me a hard time to wake him up then but when he awoke and saw me he quickly looked for his remaining bottle or rice wine and staggered into his house looking two glasses after which he poured the rice wine into the glass and offered me.

I politely refused but also needled him a bit by saying, “..You go ahead since you are now married to the bottle.. and i have still plenty of work to do..”

Then he asked me, “Patau, BIJAK KEH doh ke mu’u?” (meaning “Patau, are you wise or not?”

So I answered my friend, it is purely to you “to say whether I am wise or stupid. If you say that I am Stupid be it, But even if you say I am wise also so be it….” Even in his drunkenness he had no further say on the topic of wisdom. In fact we were good childhood friends and if only he could have gone to schools he would be very wise too like his grandfather who was our Community leader but alcohol has got the better of him and his father!.

Had he love his wife and live better than what he had done he would be drinking his own car now, instead of “waddling” for his meals at his daughter house about half a kilometer away…. Instead of being a healthy sixty old friend, i have a friend who look and behave as if he is years older than me…living alone in his big house as none of the children or grand children could stand him … thus this what awaits everyone of who has only self love and hate for the others including your own family.

So since we have only a short passage of time on Earth, why not, we all learn how to open up and “love our neighbors”.

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Gawea message- 2013

We are fortunate again this that we can celebrate another Gawea season in peace and harmony. To me, we have won in every way and in every sense for once again we can congratulate ourselves for being able to celebrate another festival in good health, though politically we may consider that we lost. But have we really lost in our struggle to build a better community and family? Not if you know what I am still doing and hoping for our nation.

The man in the middle of the picture below is my Teacher and master in the Bidayuh Adat. I am learning from him and the others to be a Bidayuh Priest. There is much to be learned of the Bidayuh ways and what I would like to term as TOPAISM. This term comes from the word TOPA who is the Almighty of the Bidayuh people for as long as the Bible story of God, Allah and the others. All our ceremonies which if done once a year is good enough for Him to give us the blessings we need for the whole year.

Just yesterday, I visited a family friends and friend. The wife quickly went to the kitchen when I arrived. We just talked about the Adat and he lamented at his experience about our Adat and the new religion which promises a lot for our people. Soon after i was served rice and a bowl of wild boar meat which they just caught the day before. This time they got two but there were ten of them hunting. What is interesting is that this bounty of the jungle was foretold whenthey did a ritual not so long before they were rewarded. It is the third time they were able to catch wild boar in the area. Previous to this they caught one big one, he said.

Yet all this was known to them through a sign given to them at the ceremony. This village will celebrate in their own small way on the first of June as well. It is called Kampong Puak, Krokong, Bau District. I was born on a farm near this village which is about half an hour walk on a jungle footpath, a place called POTU. It was one of happiest moment in life to listen to him lamenting about why we the Bidayuh do not want to know about our roots and traditions but is ready to “pay others every week for their philosophy” which to him for the Ten Commandments when the Bidayuh had more than ten.

Have a very happy reflecting who we are during this Gawea Season. I wish everyone good health, peace and Happiness. Many may called me Pagan or Athiest but Iam still proud of the ways of TOPA taught to by my mother, the Chief Priestess of my village. Till no great books which I have read can give me the confidence in life compared to what my own parents had given me.

Congratulations, Have a blessed Holidays.

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May 28, 2013 · 1:29 am

The Bidayuh Priests

The Bidayuh Priests

The priests will do the Adat Gawea while the priestesses will do the ADAT BOLIH. Together they can do the Annual festival called Gawea Sowa which is actually an anual Thanks Giving celebration for a successful Harvesting season in the past.

However to-day Gawea Sowa is performed to make the public Holidays of June 1st and 2nd, the days where families can get together for a public Holidays.

In many villages, this season becomes become the days to celebrate and enjoy with no Adat involved except for cultural performances reminiscent of the past.

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May 26, 2013 · 5:48 pm

Traditional Healing and traditional Healers of Borneo

Every human society has its share of healers who can do healing based on their faith. These healers are empowered in two ways – the “white” and the “black”. They can heal in their own ways and methods but in all cases of those who do not use herbs and medicine but just coconut oils or other oils or just plain water these mediums are being blessed by their guardians angel to do either good or harm.

As a medically trained doctor, I find it interesting when we can only send mentally ill patients to Psychiatric Hospital where more often than not condemn them to be on “drugs” for life when a traditional healer friend could heal them where modern medicine had failed. Two “mental patients” I witnessed him healed are still living a normal life now. I am also amazed at my own ability to cure three relatives of mine from skin problems which plagued them for years of medical treatment before they met me. In my case, i just asked my Guardian to come to help me heal them and then blow on their heads and amazingly they tell me that they are cured.

My own knees, twice i had pain in them, but after being healed the traditional way, in both occasions it became normal next day.

On June 15th 2010, while walking on foot to a village for a NYOBENG ceremony, I was attacked by an “unseen” when walking on a side track because the wet and muddy bridge made of two big bamboo stems without a proper railing was deemed to be to dangerous to cross…. so I went down to wade across the stream and through a path back to the main one. Then on that side path i felt a sudden sharp shearing pain in my left knee for every “wrong” step I made…yet on examination there was no apparent damage, bruises or cut on the knee. I almost did not make to the village. I had to limp all the way.

In the evening, one traditional healer was called to help. He was able to extract a piece of bone like a small surgical knife. For the whole of next day that was still pain on that knee but no more shearing pain making me limped throughout the day ceremony. During the ceremony in the Head House, i asked the same Traditional Healer to examine the knee and he extracted another smaller piece of bone. I then asked another friend to examine with pig’s blood in case any more objects were left. He took away what looked like a molar tooth….you know within two hours I was pain free.

No pain on the knee which still appears normal…. no swelling and no pain when I pressed or massaged the knee as it were the day i got it. Worse painkillers i had taken, had no effect on the pain level nor the heat rub i had used …. that is simply, modern treatment and medicine had no use on me at that time. Yes, you may say that it is only in my mind,  so be it. As was, possibly Lazarus just pretended to die waiting for Jesus to come to prepare the miracle to make him live again and was all the miracles he performed on the deaf, the blind, the handicapped or the woman who had been bleeding for twenty years… luckily I had two friends who have the power to heal like Jesus then…

The funny thing about that knee of mine was that on our nine hours walk back next, it would not bend to give me a normal walking step when going downhill. Uphill i could take proper steps but not going downhill. Thus i would warn our company saying, “Beware folks, I am going down on first gear again…” meaning that I would put my right foot down first to the step and the drag my straight left knee down to the same step all the way down the steps on the downhill… of course i managed the journey but it took us another extra hour than normal..

Waking up next day my knee was back to normal and i could walk and drive normally pain free after two days of pain. So what was happening, to this day i am scratching my head for the answer as it is possible that there is more to what we know as facts now.

Yet yesterday, i was with a friend who told me that he had a nephew who almost died this year because he was “poisoned” by a “black” Healer. Luckily for his nephew someone had an “oil” which had been handed down in the family for generations, he was saved. Sadly to say that the “black” healer got sick and died of the same illness he had inflicted on his nephew. That was how we came to talked about Jesus and his healing power which is the “white” power meaning it’s God’s power. He said it is all right to keep that to heal but not the “Black” which could be Satan…

So is there a case for the Ministry of Health to recognize these Healers who are doing miraculous work helping thousand and thousands of people throughout Malaysia alone?

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Growing old

We are all born to grow old.

Just now a long time acquaintance told me at his brother’s house that one is as old as he “thinks” he is and that age is only a number. His brother died at the age of 74 of liver cancer after a liver transplant in a foreign country next door. His was a very good colleague in SNAP CEC and National Council in the past. And later eating dinner there were his peer group about the same age but some look older than the other…. yet age wise not much different… I have a younger peer at my own village who can hardly walk now, can’t hardly see. Yes I know most of them but i quietly sit and wait to see whether they can still recognize me. Apparently none of them expect me to look as I were – more hairs than before and inadvertently my hairs are blacker because I have used one hair shampoo twice since September.

But does black and new hairs reflect youth? According to some writings, when our testosterone level reach certain level we age— wasting muscles, wrinkled skin and losing hairs. Growth hormone may help to make us stay young for a while but then we may develop Carpel Tunnel wasting. Keeping your thigh muscles developed may prolong the destruction of our male hormone from diminishing fast too. Yet by taking certain supplements and our Bidayuh Traditional Tea, I found that my masculinity improves, my prostate hypertrophy under control and the best part….

My barber asked me one a day a few years back,”Hey, doctor what did you do to your hair?”

I inquired, “Why? i have not done anything.”

He told me, “Your bare part on top is gone. Now new hairs are covering it!” He said in amazement. Sure my “Bishop hat” had been covered by new black hairs!

All I had been taking regularly as a new addition to my diet is the herbal Tea which I had asked my Traditional Healer friend to produce. He had earlier told me that his father died at 92 looking tall and straight. Many who had taken the tea had a new lease in active life…. Produced in the original form it was very effective for hypertensives, diabetes and old people. Now the shredded approach of production is not as effective but it is still all right.

So what is age really?

It is your diet and your way of life… the better the diet and the more balanced you will live better… an active way of life with balanced exercise will surely keeps you healthy.

My own friend who was assessed by onlookers before he got sick a year ago to be in his fifties when his real age is over 70, now looks older than his age. His problem stemmed from a “De-conditioned” heart because one year of mourning when he just ate and slept. After the mourning period, he wanted to do all the work he had done before. The same evening he was hospitalized for Heart Failure. He almost died a number of times. Now he is recovering and I advise him to slowly do the necessary exercise to strengthen his Heart.

It appears growing old is a matter of choice. However getting a younger bride like our Chief Minister of Sarawak is not good remedy for staying “young and vibrant”. He just got bullied publicly by his new young wife of 28 years old compared to him, almost 80 years old. So grow old graciously and accept what you have invested to stay young!

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Avoid the defects…

“AVOID THE DEFECTS OF YOUR COUNTRY”, says Gracian, a philosopher, etc. He went on to say, “Water shades the good and bad  qualities of its beds through which it runs; people share those of the region where they were born. Some owe more than others to their mother country or city, for they were born under favorable skies. No country, not even the most refined, has ever escaped some innate defect or other, and these weaknesses are seized on by neighboring countries as defense or consolation. It is a triumph to correct, or at least to dissimulate, such national faults. By doing so, you will be revered as unique amongst your people; for what is least expected is most valued. Other defects are caused by one’s lineage, condition, occupation and by times. If all these defects come together in one person, and no care is taken to foresee and correct them, they produce an intolerable monster.”

It would be a great 2011 if all of us can avoid the defects of our nation, Malaysia. We need to work together to “correct” some of our faults, especially if we can reduce “the influence of money politics” amongst our less informed brothers and sisters who do not foresee the  economic  devastation created by succumbing to its power. No country can afford it in the long run. Russia communism fell down for in the end no one really do their best to survive, because is guaranteed… things to eat, place to live, etc..Greece is in trouble because a lot is expected from the Government living a life way above what the nation can produce…We, in Malaysia, is going the same road unless less and less subsidy or “legal corruption” is achieved.

Politics along racial and religious divide is another fault for us to avoid. Unless more and more can work together towards better  economic goals without further debates or thinking along those lines, Malaysia and Sarawak will never achieve its full potential to be a richer and better nation. It must begin with ourselves to be self confident of our faith and belief to leave others to breath in their own walls. Debating on who is “more holier than thou” has wrought grieves and heartaches throughout the world. It has made us “victims” for only those who are seen to be “champions” of one or another get ahead. Yet in the end, more often than not, they could not even help their own family to survive without political power.

So let us avoid all the other faults which has bogged us down to what we are to to-day. If we can learn from the success of  our national football team in this year SUZUKI cup, then Malaysia will have less faults and will have a better future….

If only we can think deeper into what the wise Greek philosopher says…avoid the defects of OUR country in 2011 by acting wisely in the coming State and Parliamentary elections…

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