Location : Kampung Gumbang, Bau District, Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
While most Bidayuh villages in Sarawak like Tringgus, Kiding and Sapit have neglected their baruks to the sad point of abandoning them, Kampung Gumbang proudly invited YB Miro Simuh to officiate the opening of their second baruk. It is perhaps the only village in Borneo that has 2 baruks.
The conception of this new baruk started with the adoption of Gumbang by the federal Ministry of Tourism then under Datuk Seri Nazri during a speech at the 2016 Nyobeng in which he pledged to finance the construction of a new baruk. He obviously saw the tourism potential in this annual event that no other ministers did, not even our own Sarawak tourism ministers. It was the best parting gift from Datuk Seri Nazri but unfortunately his political career was cut short. He should have been the most deserving person to perform the opening ceremony and proudly so. For what he had done for such a humble village, I would personally forgive his cockiness which were at times quite entertaining. Didn’t we learn from him the Malay peribahasa “setahun jagung”?
I should share also here the story of the other baruk or the old baruk told to me by the late Dr. Patau Rubis during our visit to Nyobeng Sebujit. Dr. Patau had to solicit funds from a UN related NGO to build the old baruk as there was an outbreak of an unknown disease in Gumbang in which many lives were lost. To the Bidayuhs, the baruk was the platform in which animal sacrifices were performed to appease the spirit that was causing the deadly epidemic as in Gumbang then. As the ritual required human skulls, he had to source them from his old friend Pak Amin of Sebujit who used to stay over at his house in Krokong when visiting Pangkalan Tebang. The old Pangkalan Tebang used to be a very popular trading port for Indonesians to sell their stuff way back in the good old days when the Tringgus river was very deep for Chinese trading boats to come all the way from Kuching. So that was how the Nyobeng story between Gumbang and Sebujit started and still continued until today although Gumbang’s reciprocal partners have changed hands from Sebujit to Senebeh, Kadek and finally Anep.
Personally I have seen this event growing in size through the years. The responsibility of organizing it must have grown many folds too. My deepest respect goes to Headman Atok Derop for holding on to this challenging job each year. I could sense his biggest challenge and dilemma, in balancing his Christian faith and his ancestral beliefs. So guys, let us not give him more headaches. Give him all the support to make this authentic annual event of this indigenous religion continue. There are not many left in Sarawak.
As for the folks of Sungkung Anep, we can’t thank you enough for making the long and hard trip here. It must have been very tough, much tougher than the one we did to Senebeh in 2014, on foot over 2 days. My oh my. My heart went out to them on their final morning in Gumbang as they gathered after breakfast to make it back to Sungkung Anep through the jungle.
Been there done that. See you in July 2019. Adios amigo. Link to our Gumbang to Senebeh trip in 2014 – https://bombasticborneo.com/2014/08/sungkung-journey-day2-part1trekking-kapot-senebeh/
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Also please check out our posts on Day 1 : Welcoming