Blowpipe making a comeback
Published on: Friday, April 08, 2016
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Tenom: The vanishing art of making a 'sapok' or blowpipe, a deadly weapon of the Murut community, is slowly making a comeback as a tourism product, rather than a hunting weapon.For Pongolot Ingang, 80, of Kg Paguokon, Lagud Seberang, the traditional way of making a sapok would require about a month to finish due to its unique features. Conventionally, the sapok are made of hardwood.

However, because of its popularity as house décor, the sapok-maker had seen an increase in demand from locals which prompted him to find ways to speed up production and choose easier to obtain materials to make a sapok.

"Luckily, in this modern world, we have many materials that can be made into a sapok, from normal steel pipes or aluminium pipes. Even the process of making it can be reduced from a month to merely five days," he said.

Each of the handcrafted sapok is sold at RM420.

"These types of sapok can be sold everywhere because the distance which its 'ramok lidi' (bullet) can travel is very short and it is also not poisonous. Most of the buyers use them for home décor or gifts to friends," he said.

Pongolot who had been making sapok commercially since 1998 said the weapon rose to prominence during the Rundum Revolt led by Antanum Ontoros against the British in 1915.

However, the revolt was suppressed by the British army who were equipped with modern weapons.


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