Hornbill Unleashed

May 30, 2017

Baru: The spirit of Gawai teaches us to be thankful

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 7:46 AM

Image result for baru bian gawaiEach time when Gawai comes around, Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian is reminded that it is a celebration of what the farmers received after a season of hard work.

In his Gawai Message 2017, Baru said to the native community of Sarawak, this hard work is a mandatory process that enables them to sustain their livelihood and if they do not perform the jobs required each season, they will get nothing at the end of the cycle.

“For wet padi cultivation, the order of the process is to prepare the semai (seedlings), clear and prepare the padi field (by flooding with water, then draining the field to soften the ground), transplanting the seedlings, tending to the fields and getting rid of pests, then finally, harvest the padi.

“For dry padi cultivation or shifting cultivation the process is different. Firstly the place needs to be identified, and the undergrowth cleared (‘lemidik’). Then comes the ‘temara’, or the cutting down of the trees, which are then burnt once they have dried up (‘nutung’). Sowing (‘nguan’), done by a pair, is by making a hole in the ground and dropping a few grains of padi in the hole. While the seedlings are growing, the farmers tend to the fields and clear the grass around the plants (‘demamu’), until the time comes to harvest the padi (‘ngerani’).”

Baru, who is state PKR chairman, said he used to help his family with both types of padi cultivation, and the experience ingrained in him that if they do not put in the hard work, they will go hungry.

“Of course, sometimes there are factors beyond our control that affect our harvest, such as the weather, or disease. Nevertheless we must carry out our tasks each season if we are to have any chance of a harvest.”

For the native communities, Baru said every stage of the cultivation process is carried out in a ‘gotong-royong’ manner where everyone works together on all the fields to ensure that every family gets a good harvest.

“The spirit of Gawai teaches us to be thankful for everything we have. In the past, before the harvest, our ancestors invoked the spirits’ or the gods’ blessings, whereas nowadays, we ask for God’s blessings for good harvests.”

He said although many of the people nowadays are not farmers and do other things to make a living, like farmers, they should also be thankful for what they reap.

“Like the farmers, our livelihood is affected by factors outside our control. In our case, the economy, government policy and management of the country’s resources are some of the factors. Our country and our people are going through difficult times now. Like the farmers, we need to work together to ensure a good outcome for all.”

Baru noted that some of the matters most threatening to the people’s ‘harvest’ and peaceful enjoyment of it are corruption, bigotry, religious extremism and radicalism, and of most concern, the apathy and silence of the many in the face of such threats.

“We must all play our parts to be peacemakers, to stand up and reject these threats. It is time for the people to realise that the fate of our country is in our hands, and not the politicians’ or political parties’. It is time to let the moderate voice of the silent majority be heard.”

He also took the opportunity to remind the people that as they celebrate the good harvest with joy and merrymaking, they must not forget the poor amongst them.

“My grandfather used to tell me that it is a custom of the Lun Bawangs not to harvest the entire crop, but to leave some in the fields. Similarly, when collecting fruits, we do not pick the trees bare, but leave some fruit behind for others who may need them.

“Therefore, in our daily endeavours for survival and advancement, we must not forget those who are less fortunate than us – the poor, the sick, widows and orphans. Let us share our good harvests while we can, for this is the spirit of Gawai as well.”

Baru took the opportunity to wish all Dayak friends a Happy Gawai.

Source : The Borneo Post Online


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