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The Lun Bawang Tribe Essay

3518 words - 15 pages

THE LUN BAWANG TRIBE WAS FORMALLY CALLED THE "MURUTS" BY THE BRITISH ADMINISTRATION BEFORE AND DURING THE COLONIAL DAYS.THE RAJAH BROOKE ADMINISTRATION REGARDED THE LUN BAWANGS AS ONE OF THE FIERCEST AND THE WORST OF ALL THE TRIBES THEY ATTEMPTED TO PACIFY.

In 1900, Vyner Brooke brought a force of about a thousand men to go into the mountainous Lun bawang country hoping to catch the rebellious chiefs. They fought in the jungle but could not pin the natives chiefs because of the terrain and thick jungle.Although they failed to catch the chiefs, they burned about 20 long houses before they left the highlands. The Brooke administration would not permit other people to go up among the tribe ...view middle of the document...

Out of an estimated 17,000 people in 1889, only about 3000 were counted in 1930's. Vyner Brooke initially refuse to allow missionaries to visit them for fear that they will be killed by them but when they were eventually allowed into the inland territory, they were welcomed by the worst tribe at that time.

THE LUN BAWANG NOW

The Lun Bawang are mostly found in Limbang Division of Sarawak, Malaysia, especially in and around Lawas Town. Some notable and historical vilages are Long Semadoh, Ba Kelalan and Long Luping up in the highlands. These are beautiful villages, and widely claimed by visitors as the most beautiful places on earth. Peaceful, cool and natural with extremely friendly people.There are about over 25,000 in Malaysia with some in Kalimantan Indonesia.

Some are highly educated and holding high posts in the various government department and private sectors.There are more than 20 lawyers, some doctors, engineers, teachers etc.. and for a small tribe, the ratio is very high when compare with the others.This year (2006) statistics recorded over 300 university graduates among the Lun Bawangs with hundred more diploma holders.Most if not all, are Borneo Evangelicals.

THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION
The Brooke administration had recorded in the museum journals that the Lun Bawang house had been found to be the cleanest in Sarawak, after being regarded as the dirtiest.It was an indication of the great spiritual transformation taking place among the remaining Lun Bawang who survived the various epidemics that swept their region between 1900 to 1910. When Hudson Southwell and his friends built themselves a small hut in Sepangah, Limbang in 1928, a group of spiritualy hungry Lun Bawang visited them and became the first Lun Bawang from Trusan/Lawas to become Christians. These individuals went back and a great transformation swept the Lun Bawangf villages- they threw away their old ways, their rice wine and everything and any rituals connected with animism and ancient cultures.No other tribes in Borneo had done such before.

LUN BAWANG CULTURE
The Lun Bawang tribe is referred by some visitors as one of the most hospitable people they came into contact.In the 1960's and 1970's, when they were still living in long houses, any visitor will be invited for breakfast, lunch or dinner as many times as there are families in the long house.For instant, if there are 30 different families in the long house, the visitor or visitors would be invited to eat 30 times.The visitor will be given food to bring when he leaves.In the not so distant past, any one can go up a long house and stay there for the night and they will be taken care of by the long house inhabitants.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LUN BAWANG
ORIGIN
The origin of the Lun Bawang tribe is believed to be from central Borneo island.There appeared to be some similarity with the natives of Taiwan.The Lun Bawangs are tall and has a fair complexion. The presences of huge jars among the Lun...

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