I just want to take all the group members down the memory lane of what I can recall how meaningful the paddy planting was to the Kadayan community. As most of us know, that the Kadayans are extremely good in planting "hill paddy" or padi bukit or padi huma. Personally, I consider the Kadayan community is the most spiritual, dedicated and meticulous about paddy planting. The following work process, as we call it in modern times is the testimony of the above statement.
NATAKI (sounds very Japanese but it's Kadayan) - Nataki is a ritual perform to to keep away OANG HALUS (Jin, iblis and shaitan) from the area intended to be used as padi cultivation. NATAKI is conducted by a very special person (usually elderly person), highly knowledgeable and spiritually competent. Adherence to the code is of paramount importance to the Kadayans then, otherwise things wouldn't go smooth as required.
NYUUKI (again sounds very Japanese) - Nyuuki is very much equivalent to what we call in modern days as "Initial Survey". Nyuuki used to be conducted by a group of people to determine the boundary and area to be utilised for planting paddy.
MAIMBA - Maimba is a process to clear the jungle. Cutting down trees and clearing bushes. In the old days MAIMBA was done without the aid of machinery. The only tools used are "maang and kapak".
NUNU TABASAN - Upon the completion of MAIMBA, the area is left for weeks to ensure the tree leaves, branches and trunks are dried and only after that NUNU TABASAN is performed. A clearance of about 2 - 3 feet (KAKAI) from the neighbouring area is required to avoid "api malaat" to the surrounding areas. The clearance acts as "fire barrier/breaks". Nunu Tabasan is performed by a spiritually competent person supported by family and friends of the tabasan owner.
One interesting point to observe during the nunu tabasan is that, it is more often than not that the fire barrier/breaks (INDA PAYAH DIKAKAI) are NOT required. The spiritually competent person who initiates the ritual of nunu tabasan would be able to control the fire to burn within the confined area ONLY. That's something ha... This is the truth and can be verified from Kadayan elders in Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei.
Not only the ability to control the blazing fire, but more amazing things during nunu tabasan will be happening!! Guess what? The Kadayans also has the ability to SHAPE the clouds resulting from thick smoke from the blazing fire. The shaping of such clouds is called "PUNGGUAN". In the olden days nunu tabasan is sometimes regarded as a fiesta where a competition is held amongst the tabasan owners to choose the "best shaped PUNGGUAN".
To shape the cloud of smoke to the required shape and eventually winning the competition is indeed NOT an easy task. BUT the Kedayans can. Just incredible!! Ripley's Believe it or not.
NUGAL - The burnt tabasan is left for a few days to cool off before NUGAL is performed. Nugal is a process of creating small holes on the tabasan/earth to facilitate the planting of paddy grains. It is normally done by women and in some cases the men do the earth pounding jobs and the women will put the paddy grains in the hole created by the pounding process. Earth pounding is done using a small tree trunk with sharpen end called "PANUGAL". The panugal is about an adult Kadayan man's height approximately 5 - 5.5 feet.
The distance between one hole to another is done by approximation (enough space for the paddy plant to grow to maximum size - both upwards and sideways.) and the number of paddy seeds poured into the hole is about 4 - 7 grains.
Another interesting Kadayan culture/tradition is the team spirit to perform labourious tasks like nugal for example. In many instances nugal is performed through a team effort called "MUCHANG". When a MUCHANG is annouced by the tabasan owner, all the village folks will assemble at the tabasan early in the morining with their own panugal and small baskets to keep the paddy seeds. Muchang is usually perform very early in the morning to avoid the blazing heat from the sun.
MAUMPUT - As the paddy grows so are the grasses. Maumput is simply the act of clearing grasses and weeds that will hamper the growth of the paddy plants.
NGATAM - Watching the paddy plants grow from seedlings to "padi batian, padi manguning and eventually ngatam and maladun" is indeed a wonderful sight! I really missed the smell of fresh air at the paddy field, particularly the aromatic smell blown by the early morning breeze. Ngatam is a process of cutting the paddy stalks (tangkai padi) with a sharp object like pisau lipat for example. In order for ngatam to be completed in time, muchang is usually held amongst the Kadayan community,
Ngatam is usually performs by both men and women at early part of the day and late afternoon to avoid the blazing sun.
The most common gears used during ngatam are as follows: -
1.Pisau lipat or other sharp objects
Pisau lipat or other sharp objects.
BASUNG - A special basket made from BAMBAN and AUTAN to keep the paddy during ngatam. If my memory serves me right a string made from KULIT TIMBAAN is used to tie the basket and worn at the left or right side of the waist. Freshly cut rice grains are keep inside the basung.
TAKIDING - There are two types of TAKIDING commonly used by the Kadayans viz TAKIDING BASAA and TAKIDING DAMIT. In most cases takiding basaa is used to bring the paddy grains from the field to their house or sometimes they will store the grains in a temporary DUONG built at the tabasan.
SIAWUUNG - A head gear usually worn by women to protect themselves from the blazing sunlight.
MALADUN - Maladun is a verb from the word LADUN. Ladun is simply the rice grains which are still green during ngatam. So this category of grains are left to be ripen to be collected later. In Kadayan tradition PADI LADUN has its own specialty. Padi Ladun or baas ladun is not consumed like the normal rice. Baas ladun is used to make AMPING or the verb for that is MANGAMPING.
MANGAMPING is another team activity that reflects how closely-knitted the Kadayan community is.
PANAUHAN PADI - DUONG : The uniqueness of Kadayan tradition is that it places padi as something esteem in their society. Very few cultures and traditions worldwide have something what the Kadayans has called DUONG as a storage house for their rice grains. Adequate protection is given to the DUONG such as the protection against pests like TIKUS dian BASING and of course water leakages. It is very important to keep the inside part of the DUONG dry as to avoid dampnes that may spoil the rice grains.
DUONG has only four pillars, each pillar is protected by metal sheet to avoid tikus and basing from climbing. In many instances DUONG is built away from tall trees and jutting branches to avoid similar pests from jumping to the DUONG.
NUTUK PADI - In the olden days rice mills were not availabe to separate the husks from the grains. The Kadayans are very creative. They use LASUNG and HALU to pound the rice grains. NUTUK PADI is again an activity based on teamwork. One LASUNG can accomodate 3-4 people using HALU to pound the padi. Only experience persons would be able to pound padi in a group of three or four people, the tempo and the timing must be right otherwise the HALU will collide amongst each other.
In kampung Kadayan, nutuk padi is considered as a fiesta. In most cases, the villagers organise the nutuk padi at the same time so that they can perform yet another art called BATINGKUNG. Batingkung is simply pounding the HALU at both ends of the LASUNG at the right tempo to produce musical sound. If the LASUNG is made from the quality wood, the sound would be better.
THAT'S IT FOR NOW GUYS. HOPE YOU ENJOY READING MY WRITE UP ABOUT PADI. IN MY OPINION THE KADAYANS ARE FAR MORE CREATIVE THAN ANY OTHER ETHNICS OF BORNEO WITH REGARDS TO PADDY PLANTING AND OTHER PROCESSES RELATED TO IT.
YOU GUYS MUST BE VERY PROUD FOR BEING KADAYANS.
If any of the facts and terminologies used in the above write-up are inaccurate, kindly let me know and please accept my sincere apology for that.