21 June 2011
So, we are from China?
When my grandparents were still around, I used to ask them "where are we from?". And 'ama' (that's my grandfather), with his typical humor, would tell me a story of how there were seven sisters that lived on top of the Kinabalu Mountain, who got blown away by the wind and scattered to different places. "From the seven places, the various races were formed", he'd confidently said. 'Ina' (grandmother) would dismiss my question with "ungka" (don't know), and told me not to ask too many questions. I supposed no one told them of their origins, and that's the way it was supposed to be...from them, I never did learn much about the origin.
Through the years, I've heard many versions of the origin of the Dusun (Kadazaandusun) people. Then I came across two archived articles that mentioned the name(s) of the person/s responsible to bring the Dusun here in Sabah. It's quite fascinating, although the writers themselves wrote that that theory needs further research (and that was in 1858, and 1923 respectively).
According to Crespigny (1958), "...they (the Dusun) revere the name of Kina, their first leader, who having brought them to this land from another, ascended the mountain Kinibalu, and was no more seen of men. They also kept in rememberance the name of Hung-sum-ping, the brother of the Emperor of China, and Malekbatata, from the same country, whose names are connected with a curious legend". I find it interesting that although this piece of information seems so infused with myth, the mention of China and those two names seem real.
Another version ((Hewett (1923)) says that Kublai Khan invaded North Borneo in great force in 1292 (Thanks Tina for noticing the typo. I wrote 1912 earlier) and founded a Chinese Province, in which included the Sulu Islands. (and perhaps from there, the people spread to Sabah?). One evidence given by Hewett that I find curious is "the bamboo bridge over Tampasuk river at Kaung Ulu, a survival of Chinese days. No Dusun nowadays could design such a bridge". I wonder how the bridge looked like. The same author states that from Sulu records, a guy called Ong Sum Ping settled in Kinabatangan River in 1375...and if one relates this with the Dusun legend, that the people originated from Nunuk Ragang (which is very accessible from Kinabatangan), there might be some truth to the claim.
Anyhow, solid research will be needed to explain the genesis of the Dusun :. As it is, I continue wondering...