Elderly Murut wants to attend school
Published on: Saturday, November 21, 2020
By: British North Borneo Herald
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Apart from various short and quite unexpected visits from the District Surgeon, we have not been blessed with visitors this month. News, either good or bad, seems to be noticeable merely by its absence, of we expect the charge of buskshot which one of our neighbour’s dogs regrettably received in non-vulnerable portion of its anatomy, when mistaken for a kijang.

On a recent trip we were interested to note the evident spread of desire for kultur among the Muruts, as evinced by a certain middle-age Orang Tua who earnestly requested to be allowed to go to a Government School for two months. He wished to learn to read and write.

He and his wife been busy padi harvesting; but a present indication that the musim megatam is almost to an end is the re-opening of the Keningau Vernacular School.

Whether or no one’s other “learned brother Judges” will agree with the opinion of one who is only “additionally” a member of the family, it will, we suppose, be generally conceded that Sessions Court trials are matters of grave moment and not, per se, calculated to induce humourous incident. 

However, we must confess, that in a recent trial holden at Keningau, Anno Domimi 1938, it struck us as approaching the humourous when a Chinese witness, solemnly sworn, and deposing to have been married to his Murut wife for the last four years, replied to the question, “What is her name?” with Sahaja tidak tahu.

We recollect that sometime in 1934, we reported the case of a Chinese wife, suing for maintenance (or something else), in the District Magistrate’s Court, Sandakan, deposing that she addressed her husband as “oi” and didn’t know his name.

For the student of Adat, we would bring the light a Murut, (or rather, Keningau) drinking custom. At a tapai party, wife must not pull at the bamboo tube after husband or vice versa; to do so means that one unit gets an unfair share of the delicatessen provided for the assembly. 

We believe, also, that, if either spouse imbibes immediately after a member of the opposite sex, he or she is credited with an improper predilection from him or her. But on this subject, we hope to be more explicit in our next effusion.

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