Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rungus Longhouse (Honey & Fire Starting) @ Mari Mari Cultural Village [Sabah State]

A short walk away from Dusun House was the Rungus tribe longhouse; Rungus is the fourth largest tribe in Sabah and many of them lived in longhhouses in the old times. 

Knowledge sharing again - from first look. i thought it would be another session of rice wine! Honestly, it had been quite a while since i last indulged in such vice. 

That block of seemingly decayed wood on the counter contained insects fair more valuable as they supplied a product much sought after even in the contemporary times we are in; honey made by the stingless bees!

Bamboo - the hive for the bees. Not sure if it is allowed in Singapore but i remember reading an article in New York on the popularity of urban bee keeping! 

Aside from the production of raw honey, the disgusting looking beeswax (considered as a byproduct) has its usefulness too. 

Given its stickiness, the beeswax acted as natural glue for this traditional musical instrument known as Sompoton; to hold the bamboo pipes that were inserted into the dried gourd. 

Taste the freshly harvested honey using traditional bamboo cups! 

Entering the Rungus humble yet ridiculously long dwelling that housed everyone in the village and in the past, can stretch over 70 doors (one door for each room).

Interior of the longhouse; with many Rungus now working in towns, the longhouses nowadays are much shorter and i guess there are also many benefits with amenities in modern buildings. 

A typical room; one room for one family! In the Rungus culture, the village chief would stay in the middle of the longhouse. If there is a need to extend (for example, for a new family), you would have extend on both ends to ensure the chief remains in the middle. 

Fire starting demonstration! Dry bamboo has to be used and women must learn how to start the fire using this traditional method which was considered as a pre-requisite for marriage! 

It took skill and patience, and a lot of smoke! For the video, check out my youtube video here

Going out of the longhouse - from the photo, it did seem rather easy with steps that appeared to be rather broad in dimension. 

The difference between each step was rather high though and those with shorter legs might feel intimidated going down! For the comfort (and safety) of those who are not keen to take on the challenge, there was an easier staircase on the side purposely installed for your convenience.

In traditional Rungus longhouses, there was another door in the middle which many Rungus would not use in their common life as it was used only during funerals.


Within Mari Mari Cultural VillageTo read more, kindly refer to the main posting on Mari Mari Cultural Village.

For the summarised itinerary of my 7 days, 6 nights Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) trip, please click here.

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