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...


Isabel said...

Interesting information. Our lecturer once said that the Kadazandusun people was originated from the Philippines. That's why la konon when we speak English, we sound like a Filipino speaking English. Don't know if it's true or not, but one thing for sure: we're special! haha..

Verone said...

Hi Isabel,
if you relate what your lecturer says with the Kublai Khan and Sulu info, ada juga kebenaran dia. Mungkin dari sana, tersebar pi Sabah. And it is true indeed that the Dusunic languages are very similar in terms of structures to the Philippine languages. Interesting kan? :)

Gunaqz said...

Interesting. Very interesting. My late (paternal) great grandmother used to tell me lots of folk stories. One of her favourites was a story about a 'legendary woman' of our tribe (dusun). She called her 'Koulan'.

Like other grandmothers, my late maternal grandmother too, loved to tell us folk stories. The funny thing is, she too, had told us similar stories told by our paternal great-grandmother. Like the story of the 'legendary' dusun woman (tho, she called her 'Yulan').

Both women lived in two different districts, were illiterate and never sat down together to 'trade' folk tales with each other. How in the earth did they come up with the same folk stories? It's not like they have read it in books (as they both were hopelessly illiterate) or had come from the same area.

My interest on finding out our tribe's origin sparked when I watched the famous animation movie, Mulan. It immediately aroused my memory on the folk tales told to me by my grandmothers from both maternal and paternal sides. I couldn't dismiss the similarity of those three stories. Could it be just a very weird coincidence? I mean, really-really weird, like their names -- Koulan, Yulan and Mulan. Also, all three women were masquerading herself as a man to fight in a war. How weird is that?

What if it's not a coincidence? What if, only IF, there were broken links somewhere, links that point us to a big clear picture of our real origin? Of course my grandmothers 'made' their 'heroine' a dusun woman and not chinese ... but when i come to think of it these days, how the hell our dusun people get involved in a war back then? war against who?

Oh how i wish there were documented histories about our Dusun tribe. Oh well. We must start documenting them now. It's now or never.

BTW, I'm interested to hear from other Dusun people out there if there's anybody have ever been told the story of this Koulan/Yulan by their oldies. I'd like to hear the version of their stories and compare them with ones being told to me.

Sorry for hogging your comment box, Verone. I'll find a time to blog about this when I can. Thanks for writing this. Cheers!

Gunaqz said...

... masquerading herself as a man to fight in a war. (X)

.... masquerading themselves as men ...

ha ha. sorry.

Tina said...

Interesting post Verone! I am also keen to know more about our origin. Some materials I've come across sounded more myth than fact.

BTW Kublai Khan couldn't have come within the last few centuries. He was born in 1218?? But he could have dropped in on his way to Java in the 13th century when he tried to conquer the island.

Verone said...

Hi Gunaqz,
I love reading what you wrote...feel free to leave loooong comments :) Lucky you for having been told that story by your grandmothers! I have never heard of that, and somehow you have unlocked another door in my mind about the possibility of pursuing a research on this. There must be a connection somehow, since both your grandmothers were of different communities? Do blog about their stories ya...can't wait to read them.

Verone said...

Hi Tina,
I didn't know that Kublai Khan was born in 1912. But if he did invade this part of the world in 1292, as Hewett wrote, then it is possible, yes?
For all we know, it was Kublai Khan's ppl who were responsible in taking our ancestors here. Let me know if you find anything new Tina. Perhaps blog about it! :)

Verone said...

thanks for noticing my mistake. I wrote 1912 for Kublai Khan's expedition instead of 1292, which is the correct one! :)

Verone said...

Gosh, Tina, I mean 1292! Something is wrong with me today :) Might be a sign to try my luck on the 4D with the wronly written numbers! LOL

azamain said...

yeah, finally someone put this piece of info in the net with versions I never I never knew i.e the blowing by the wind. But one fact remains, we do have a certain connection with China and 130,000 years ago, South China sea was not the sea it is today, it can be used as a travelling platform minus the water ! [forgot the article's title but it's about geology]. Some similarities occurs and the names of people and places sometimes ring certain Chinese tunes. Remember, Cheng He sailed 7 times around the globes with 400 ships and 28,000 men - some might have strayed away from the fleet or criminals were punished and left out to survive somewhere and intermingling with the locals couldn't be sidelined. The puzzle is yet to be put together but we are what we are, history or no history......:)

Verone said...

azamain- it makes an interesting mystery, right? Were our ancestors the ones who strayed, were they criminals, or plain kuli? I wish somebody put the pieces together soon! :)

Justin said...

You just got a new follower! Malekbatata sound a lot like Alak Betatar aka Sultan Muhammad Shah, first Sultan of Brunei. Huang Senping or Ong Sum Ping was the Sultan's son in law.

Have you heard about Raja Makatunaw?

Verone said...

Hi Justin,
You are making a lot of sense. I did read somewhere that Ong Sun Ping was indeed related to the Brunei Sultanate.

Btw, my history sucks! I'm ashamed to admit I haven't heard of Raja Makatunaw. I'd be interested to read a blog about him. Maybe you can write an entry about him? :)

Justin said...

Damn, I was hoping you could tell me who he is. I only know so much that 10 datus from Borneo escaped to Philippines because they were oppressed by this evil Raja Makatunaw of Poni/Borneo

Verone said...

Phew, Justin. You have given me a new assignment :). I guess I'm curious enough to start a research on him...

Joe Lorenzo said...

helo...your writing about Dusun is quite interesting...thanks for sharing.
~about the article...is it 1958? or 1858?....lil' bit confusing with the typing....sori..^_^

viktor said...

I see DNA people use two things to look at association. First is Dusun Mother and second Dusun Father.

To identify a maternal (female) affiliation mtDNA is used. While YDNA is used for paternal (male) DNA affiliations. Haplogroup is the DNA grouping to identify association of people in this planet.

A male sample DNA from a Tindal Tribe of Kota Belud was sent to National Geographic, USA for the Genealogy Project. Later the sample was forwarded to its associate FTDNA for mtDNA analysis.

The DNA result was sent for matching at their DNA bank at FTDNA and Genebase. The result was not surprising and as anticipated.

YDNA (male) ancestor for this sample (a male Dusun tindal Kota Belud) is Haplogroup O2(P31). Now these people are found rare in tribe of male in India, Taiwan, Japan, Burma, Hainan, Nicobar Island, Andaman Island. These people evolve and become O2a, O2b..etc. Mean this people are here all the while in mainland Southeast Asia and Island Southeast Asia (Taiwan) also found among Korean and Japanese tribes.

mtDNA (female) ancestor is Haplogroup E1a1a. These people are found many among the tribes of Taiwan, Phillipine and Sulawesi.

Suggestion of origin are many. One suggestion is that from Taiwan to Phillipine to Sulawesi and Borneo. Another is that from Borneo itself that is from Sundaland to Philippine then to Taiwan. This E1a1a DNA is not found in mainland China.

Of course the are many mtDNA type found in the tribe of Dusun-Kadazan. A study by a guy in University of La Trobe Australia found that out of 95 Dusun-Kadazan mtDNA sample he examined a lot belong to Haplogroup E (E1a, E1b, E1a1a) and B4a. The rest are M7, R9, B4a, B5a, F1a and D. He said that Dusun-Kadazan in Sabah is close related to the mtDNA (female) of Bajau. Also closely related to the mtDNA (female) of the mtDNA of Philippines and Sulawesi.

Another study by a guy in University Malaya pointed out that in the sample that he studied he found out that the mtDNA (female DNA) Dusun-Kadazan are closely related to Bajau female DNA.

He said that the most common subgroup in Dusun-Kadazan mtDNA is M7 (~35%), which is prevailing in East Asia (especially Japan). The other are macro Haplogroup D and R which is common in Asia (Central Asia and Southeast Asia).

...Perhaps the female Bajau in Sabah is in the first place a Dusun-Kadazan and become Bajau because Bajau guys either by hook or by crook took in female Dusun-Kadazan as their wife.

I think they came here single or without their wife with them.

Enniebelle said...

There might be some merits on that claim. I read once in a medical journal about the thalassemia disease in Sabah, where almost all of its sufferers are mostly from KDM communities. It was reported that it bears a common and similar traits to what had been found to people (sufferers) in Southern China.

Anonymous said...

A-MEI taiwan singer,she looks like chinese,actually A-Mei is an ethnic Puyuma,group of Austronesian peoples.its related dusun people and other ethnic in sabah.exmple korean,japanese and chinese they looks similar but different. chinese is sino-tibet group.

AlanT said...

I stumble on your blog as i was reading other articles on Dusun, Malay and other South east Asean groups. Nice, and yes KDM do have the same genetic code found in China and some part of Eurasia. Hence we might assume, our forefathers did walk over and made Sabah home. I am Sino so 50% is from china.

Anonymous said...

Tht all only base on theory not a fact. Hwevr its quite good for future research. Im dusun but hv mix little Japanese blood.

vivienateng said...

hello everyone,

new here and better late than never.

from what i read. i can't remember which author of course a Westerner. He wrote that the Dusun people came from a couple. The man is a chinese prince and the lady was a brunei princess. They had an accident, the prince tried to rescue her..... it is also written that the couple had children, incest occured and that's how the dusun tribe came about.

then again, luvly story and proud to be KadazanDusun living in Sarawak.

Anonymous said...

Your definitely of Filipino origin. Specifically from Luzon, of the Tagalogs. Ama and Ina are tagalog words meaning grandfather and grandmother. Words you most likely will retain through the generations because you use them inside the home. Tagalog is the national language of the philippines. Renamed to Filipino language...

Unknown said...

we are dusun dyak north borneo,we same adat at other dyak lain dalam borneo ini.

emelyne sam said...

Fascinating people of sabah... there is so many legends about who we are? Where we come from? who was our ancestors? Who create our special ( kadazan/ dusun ) language,when i observe people around me(other people in Borneo) there is many similarities in language, face, culture , food, our music , music instrument , etc.... Austronesian.. ? I never know but I want to know and I hope we can find the answer together..

simeon dewal mail said...

Maybe Kadazandusun simply originated from Borneo around Mt. Kinabalu and wide spread in Borneo Island? Its seems like the various native people of Borneo from Sabah to Brunei to Sarawak to Kalimantan sharing the same Culture and Practices i.e headhunting, long houses, ritual, and Paddy. Kadazandusun and Dayak maybe shared same ancestor. Maybe should consider the whole story of every tribes native people of Borneo.

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