19 August 2010

sogit- it's actually forgiveness

Baby dumping cases in Malaysia are on the rise again...my friend just commented that the society contributes to the problem- for being judgemental. She has a point. Instead of helping the young, lost and scared mothers, the society at large scorns, chastises and labels them 'sinful'.

Anyway, the friend said, among the indigenous society in Sabah, for example Dusun, you hardly ever hear of this phenomenon. An animated discussion of this leads us to the conclusion that sogit must be playing a role in preventing baby dumpings.

In the Dusun society, having babies out of wedlocks is wrong, and in the olden days could get a severe punishment of the mother being sent to the jungle to give birth alone. But if the mother returned to the village safely, she would only be asked to pay a sogit (normally in the form of an animal to be slaughtered, cooked and eaten by the villagers) to the villagers to appease the spirits, and to 'cool' the surrounding, and she would be accepted as one of them again.

The sogit practice continues on even now. The mothers are not severely punished anymore though. The mother is the guilty party until the sogit has been paid. While she is 'guilty', the villagers won't have any qualms of gossiping about her bad conducts. Once she has paid the sogit, the talks would gradually subside. There seems to be an unspoken consensus among the villagers to 'forgive and forget' the past 'sin'. (And that could be because most people believe that if you talk about something that has been settled, the 'heat' will go to you and you'll be the one getting the bad consequences.) But whatever the real reason is, sogit works to prevent further crime like baby dumping to be committed. In a way, it is forgiveness...

13 comments:

nc said...

this is a good sharing :) about sogit.

Anonymous said...

If all the baby dumpers were dusuns,my guess is that villages in Malaysia will have stocks of meat that could last almost forever ! :)

On a serious note : the 'sogit' practice signifies that there is a communal system being followed by the humble nature people of Sabah.

Verone said...

nc- :-) I guess we discover new things every day.
anon- LOL, hmm...stocks of meat that would be pickled and lasts forever. Correction- sogits are for giving births out of wedlocks...so far I haven't heard of sogits for baby dumpers in my society...because there hasn't been a case of baby dumping yet :-)

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Verone, really sad to read of babies being unwanted. But I can imagine the mother's later on trauma of having given away her baby....and never knowing her or his welfare, future.

But I guess, with the advent of TV, the Internet and Hollywood influence, these unfortunate incidents will never go away.

It is happening here too, but the government has its own special services to take care of the babies.
You have a nice day, keep well, Lee.

TataJane said...

Proud to be Dusun, and yeah, the Dusun is actually has its own system, in everything. But maybe we take it fro granted and never really study the system?Or maybe its just me..ha ha ha

R.N.T. Sinusun said...

I like this topic :)... I was 'offered' my own 'mongoi pogiilang dot sogit' ceremony when I was 9yrs old. A neighbour boy accidently 'lastik' my left eye (now blind and juling). I didn't see the significant meaning of the ceremony back then that I thought they came to 'pay native denda'. Oh my :)

Tenerezza said...

I'm a F2 student who is going to have my history exam. One of the topic about the culture of Sabah ethnics mentioned sogit, babas and kepanasan but they did not give any explanation. All I know is that it's some sort of punishment. Can you tell me about the latter 2?

Haryati Molly @ Tunung said...

Hi..
Yes, in Dusun community "sogit' is one of the significant term that prevent lot of Sabahan girl from making bigger sin by dumping/abort their out of wedlock baby..
I am one of those girl who pay 'sogit' for my mistake..

Carol Oudet said...

I dont think it prevent but it is to make worst because they judge people.

Carol Oudet said...

Its not relevant in this era. Well i had a friend who was in this situation. She got pregnant with an european guy and because of different time zon and time doesn't permit they make wedding immediately. And so they immediately make a jpn marriage and is recognised by french government yet still the villagers force to pay sogit

Carol Oudet said...

When the parents inlaw know about this they said. Oh what a shame and selfish tribe. Of course we dont want to waste money on this a its better to use the money sogit to pay cow for the welcoming of baby or for the wedding reception.i think they have a good reason.well every human did sin or mistake but its not human who create system its god who forgive. I think this kadazandusun have to stop to be ego to continue this system and better to be open minded and change for good. Dont be selfish. Imagine if the girl in the village is poor. Well she dont deserve punishment and people have no right to gossiping. Well said people reach to the moon but the kadazandusun still in the village gossip and do nothing for the better future.

Carol Oudet said...
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Carol Oudet said...
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