22 June 2010
...and another dispute judgement: mongoi tolop
If you thought mitugi is horrifying, there's another one that could force a guilty party to admit that they are guilty even before the judgement is begun. This one is called mongoi tolop literally "go dunk (in the river)". (oh well, actually it's hard to tell which one is more scary- dipping your hands in boiling water, or being under the water for a long time!)
The disputing parties are taken to a river- nowadays there are hardly any rivers that are deep enough for this purpose, at least in Bundu Tuhan area, I think, but before, there were. As in mitugi the momolian started the rite with a long, thorough chant, asking mother nature to reveal the truth. Then the two disputing parties were asked to dunk; head under water naturally. It won't be made easy for them; all the villagers would be by the river bank, eagerly waiting to see who's the guilty party (Naturally that would give them something juicy to talk about till another exciting event happened). The dunk was not timed but an elderly aunt said it was quite long. The guilty party would be opusakan "suffocated" even to the extent of almost drowning. But the innocent party would come out of the water like a hero- no shortness of breath at all.
The funniest thing ever when an elderly person recount this kind of story to you is that they mention names, the person who once went through it, suffered the embarrasment of being opusakan, and, ..err..., even their descendents, excitedly at that. I said to myself; "thank god i don't know these people". Would have been awkward if I did because I'd be so tempted to go and ask them the details of the event...