14 August 2010

creating a sense of identity through family heritage

Once upon time during the headhunting time, there was a warrior in Kg. Toboh, Ranau who defeated many enemies. Back then, it was very important for a man to have headhunting skills, for enemies were all around, waiting to kill for food and things, in the name of survival. It was said that this headhunter was very strong and agile he could jump over a river (which must have been about 5m in width) when no one else could. He would go to great lengths to protect his family and friends, and he was much revered by those who have known him.

Well, that wasn't so long ago, for many elderly people who are still around today have had the chance to know him. Maybe he wasn't the once agile warrior anymore when they did see him, but his laurels remained. Even till now. His great grandchildren still talk about him with great respect, and they kept a sole picture of him somewhere in their family house in Kg.Toboh, which to date I haven't had the chance to see.

I happen to be married to one of his descendents, and am fortunate enough to pass on this tale to my son. It works well to help him identify with his root, his ethnic identity. The night we told him the story, he was so excited he tried to jump from his bed in his sleep. For days afterwards, he kept asking about his great grandparent- the food he ate, the clothes he wore, the name he had. And decided that he would like a Dusun name; a warrior's name to show that he is also as strong and brave as his ancestor. So I called him 'Anakanak' (of course that is my endearment to him, meaning 'little son', which coincidently is also a popular hero name in Dusun folktales). And I'm happy that he is happy to be himself, a Dusun, a minority ethnic in this big big world. It is indeed handy to have some kind of family heritage to help create a sense of identity among the young generation...


smallkucing said...

yes..it's good to know the ancestors and learn from what they did

Verone said...

very true smallkucing :-)

Anonymous said...

im a dusun brunei but hardly know anything much about any tales warrior, headhunting stuff etc. i wud love to give a dusun name to my children one day and could tell stories like yours.something to be proud of.so im still in my babysteps in looking for my self identity...in time il be there

Peter said...

Hello there!!
I hope you are well!
My name is PeterMcBride,
I come from Dublin, Ireland,
I'm looking to get a book on Dusun stories
for Christmas for a friend,
I was wondering if you could recommend anything
that I could buy on Amazon,
Kind regards,

John Du said...


i'm also interested with the Dusun/Bisaya ancestry coz I'm a Filipino Bisaya myself.