Wednesday, 8 April 2009

My Story Teller

Mujah, my Story-Teller.
Mujah, one of my story-tellers flanked by my brother-in-law,
Medang and sister Impo with her granddaughters
In the days when there was no radio stations to listen to, story-telling was an art and a premier form of entertainment. Talented and good story tellers were hard to find. That was in the early 50s. Even at that time, the art of story-telling (ensera) was slowly disappearing. By mid 50s, elaborate story-telling sessions had ceased. I managed to see a session once. A story teller was perched on a swing hung from a beam in the ceiling. The listeners sat in a circle around him - all ears.
In undulating voices that captivated his audiences, he sang and praised the brave exploits of the legendary and mythical warriors of Panggau Libau. It was usual for these sessions to run throughout the night.
I used to accompany the elders into deep jungle to hunt or looking for rattans or clearing the jungle for hill paddy cultivation.
At night I used to beg Mujah, my story teller, to tell me stories of these warriors. Sometime, if he was not tired, he would oblige. The stories, though might be a repeatition, would always mesmerised me. I could almost feel I was there among the mythical warriors. No wonder it had a deep impact on my life at a later stage.


  1. My most respected Tuai Ngayau,

    I happy that you are going into this kind of interest and stuff now. It brings you closer to my discipline and where the Mat Salleh used to contribute to the compilation and preservation of our oral history. I hope you keep itu up and as you had already done get them published. If you need any technical help just call out (forgot the Iban word already).


  2. Dear Hasmadi,

    I also have forgotten the Iban word for "call out". Could be ngagau or nyeraung. Actually I was just trying to publish the old pictures in my albums before they are forgotten and lost.