26 July 2010
Local Wisdom- how could I not believe this?
I'm still obsessed about the Dusuns' death rituals. One of my personal favourite is the rite of potongkiad "separation". The old folks say that the dead must be properly separated from their living relatives, or else someone will get sick, for the livings and the deads cannot mix. Or, if no one got sick, the dead won't feel that they have died and will continue to linger on. Will they?
Well this is another local wisdom that has been practised from generation to generation. To let go of yours when it is time to let go. The modern Dusuns sometimes forget to do this rite (and it is as simple as saying a few parting words), thinking that religion will take care of everything.
A few days ago my parents tried to dismantle my late grandfather's old hut. It was behind his usual place when he was alive. The hut was indeed special- he used it to store his favourite stuffs (mostly junks :-)) like the tools he used to momogorib "getting coconut sap" for bahar "a special drink that is believed to be medicinal, although often alcoholic". My dad used a chainsaw to cut off the four poles of the hut. He thought the hut would crumble and collapse after that but it didn't happen. They shook the hut hard, and still nothing happened. Finally an elderly neighbour came and begged my late grandfather to let go of it. Inspired by that, my mom too asked him to stop holding the hut. Guess what? Moments after that, the hut dismantled easily.
Now what would one call this? Coincidence? Not me. I'd call that the work of local wisdom. For all I know, because my family members do not practice much of the old traditions anymore, the soul of my late grandfather might still be lingering around. Maybe waiting for proper parting words from everyone...or because he just likes doing that. Remembering that he used to be a person that is most cheerful and humorous when he was alive, I'd say his soul must have chosen to linger around :-). He sure enjoys it.