In the Dusun society, open dispute is discouraged. People are supposed to be 'all smiles and no sour faces', something really hard to practice in this era. I, for example, have had to breach the Dusun's code of politeness when I had to write about my bitter experience dealing with a shipping company (in my other blog 'Blogging Life'). From a mere expression of dissapointment, it became a an open dispute when, instead of admitting their faults, the shipping company rep accused my husband of spreading lies and slandering them in the comment section of my blog. Worse, they sent an email to the Malaysian yahoo group, (to whom, earlier my husband shared our bitter experience with in an email, cc-ed to the company of course), deleting my husband from the mailing list but forgetting to delete me, telling everyone that what my husband said were all lies, and slander. That, of course led to an open dispute that this Dusun lady couldn't avoid. (if you are interested to know the story, do read my entry 'the shipment story' in Blogging Life).
Dispute is not good. Being Dusun, I naturally do not feel good about having to be in one. But life demands that we fight for justice. And I feel that that is what I'm doing.
In the Dusun society, I think the way we handle dispute is not very good. We talk about the people that we are having problems with to others, but in front of them, we are expected to put on a smiley face. From another perspective, that is considered 'badmouthing others'. Although considering the Dusun culture, I can't really blame the society for keeping on with the tradition. I remember once someone I know had to face an opponent over a major land dispute in a government office. The person could still shake hand with the opponent and said "hiti ko pama iya ddi" ("you are also here"), a polite greeting in Dusun :-). But most Dusuns are learning to cope with dispute more professionally now, myself included. It is better to bring an issue out in the open and find a settlement that satisfies oneself, rather than keeping it behind and talk bad about it to others.
It's hard on this Dusun lady here, but coping :)